Gulf Oil Spill Reaches Texas Shore
    2010-07-06 10:54:35     Xinhua      Web Editor: Jiang Aitao

The Helix Q 4000 burns off excess methane gas near the site of the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, July 4, 2010. [Photo: CFP]

Special: Oil Spill Impact

U.S. officials confirmed Monday that tar balls from the Gulf oil spill have reached the shore of Texas, the first evidence that the spill has reached all five U.S. Gulf states.

The Texas General Land Office confirmed the tar balls found along the shores of Crystal Beach on Bolivar Peninsula, Texas, are from the Gulf spill, according to local TV channel Khou.

Tar balls have also been reportedly found on the west tip of Galveston Island, Texas, but officials did not confirm that the balls are also from the spill.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said crews were removing tar balls found on the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island on Sunday.

State officials performed tests on samples collected from the tar balls and concluded that the oil was from the Gulf spill, after hearing reports of tar balls washing up on beaches in Texas over the weekend.

Texas Governor Rick Perry said Monday that his office will take steps to handle the situation and try to reduce the impact of the oil on the state's beaches.

"As we've now seen the first confirmed impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on our coast, I want to assure Texans that we are taking aggressive steps to address this situation and to mitigate any effects to our beaches," Perry said.

"The state of Texas and the General Land Office are continuing to work closely with the Coast Guard to ensure we use all the available resources and take the necessary measures to protect the Texas coastline," he said.

Texas Land Commissioner Patterson said BP, operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig which exploded and triggered the massive oil spill, should pay for Texas' clean-up costs.

BP's total spending for the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico has so far reached 3.12 billion U.S. dollars, the London-based company said in a statement Monday.

The figure includes the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, pay-out claims, and federal costs, BP said.

It also said that of the nearly 95,000 claims that have been submitted, more than 47,000 payments worth around 147 million dollars have been made.

Giving an update on its oil containment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, BP said its two containment systems continue to collect oil and gas gushing from the Deepwater Horizon's failed blowout preventer (BOP).

On July 3, a total of approximately 25,198 barrels of oil were collected or flared by the two systems, and 57.0 million cubic feet of gas were flared, the company said.

Scientists from the U.S. government estimate that up to 30,000 to 65,000 barrels of oil are gushing into the Gulf of Mexico every day.

However, the company said, work on a third containment system, a floating riser containment system, was delayed by heightened sea states caused by Hurricane Alex as it passed through the Gulf of Mexico.

The additional containment system is expected to be put into operation by the end of this week, the company said.

The spill, the worst in U.S. history, began April 20 with an explosion and fire aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers.


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