UPDATE: Thunder Horse Recovery

The joint effort by BP, the US Coast Guard and US Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service continues today to respond to the Thunder Horse platform incident in Mississippi Canyon Block 778 approximately 150 miles southeast of New Orleans.

Pumping operations continue and have been underway since 4p.m. July 13. Effort to seal ballast water inlets and plug instrumentation ports continues. Platform has risen, and is stable; it was not due to start production until the end of 2005, and is not yet connected to the subsea oil wells.

The weather is still calm.

As a precaution, and with the expectation that weather will deteriorate throughout the region as Tropical Storm Emily crosses the Gulf, BP has contracted Smit to take the lead in this stage of the recovery. Their role in the integrated BP/Smit team is to make the platform seaworthy and storm-safe on location.

Smit has been part of the recovery effort from the start, providing equipment and conducting some operations. By expanding the role of Smit in the recovery effort, and taking advantage of their recovery management skills, BP is seeking to speed the process of righting and securing the platform.

BP will continue to control the onshore technical response and logistical support.

Smit is a world leader in vessel recovery and vessel towing. Smit's skills in vessel incident response and recovery will complement BP's skills in platform management during normal operations.

The Coast Guard, Minerals Management Service (MMS) BP's partner in Thunder Horse fully support this operations plan.

The safety of all response personnel remains the highest priority. There have been no reports of injuries to response personnel.

Coast Guard personnel remain on scene with resources to monitor operations and provide emergency spill response, if needed. MMS personnel are also on scene to assist. To date, there have been no reports of environmental impacts in the area.

Efforts remain underway to understand the cause of the incident.

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