BP Removes Cap Collecting Spewing Oil After Sub Bumps It

There have really been no good days in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP oil spill, only bad days and worse days.

Wednesday, the situation got somewhat worse after BP had to remove the cap that was providing some containment of the oil spewing from its broken well. A submersible hit the cap.

As NPR's Richard Harris explained for the network's newscast:

The main funnel had been collecting up to 17,000 barrels of oil a day. But earlier today BP pulled it off the well as a precaution. The national incident commander (retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen) says it appears the cap was bumped by a robotic submarine.

As a result, it appeared that natural gas was starting to make its way up a hose that normally carries warm water down to the funnel. BP was worried that could create a safety hazard for the drillship Enterprise

So they pulled the cap off the top of the well. They're now evaluating the situation. The incident commander says they may be able to put the collection cap back on fairly quickly or it could take some time if it's been clogged with methane ice.

A second ship is still collecting 10,000 barrels of oil from a pipe that comes out the side of the damaged blowout preventer. But at the moment, most of the oil from the blown out well is spewing into the ocean.

Here's a jargon-filled Coast Guard release on the situation.

To make matters worse, weather forecasters warned on Wednesday that a tropical storm was brewing in the region that they expect could be in the Gulf of Mexico next week, disrupting the oil collection efforts and perhaps driving oil further into marshes, inland waterways and beaches.

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