Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, who is commanding the federal response to the disaster, said some oil had been collected in the cap that had been lowered onto the crippled well and was beginning to funnel up to the surface. But he said that a great deal of oil was still escaping, by design, through vents in the cap that were intended to let oil out in order to keep cold water from rushing in and forming icy hydrates that could block the flow of oil to the surface. He said that about 1,000 barrels a day was being collected, a fraction of the 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day. But he said that as the valves closed, more oil should be collected, if the seal continues to hold.
The President Gets Angry
In his third visit to the Gulf Coast, President Obama criticized BP for spending millions of dollars on television advertisements and paying out huge shareholder dividends. He said he did not want to see BP “nickel and diming” people and businesses hurt by the oil spill.
Mr. Obama canceled his trip to Australia, Indonesia and Guam to travel to the gulf.
In his first address to BP investors since the April explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, apologized for the damage the company had caused. He said that “the financial consequences of this incident will undoubtedly be severe” but that BP’s current finances give it “significant flexibility in dealing with the costs.”