BP Pledges $500M for Independent Research into Impact of Deepwater Horizon Spill on Marine Environment

BP pledged nd shoreline environment of the Gulf of Mexico.

On 21 May, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) sent a letter to BP America CEO Lamar McKay, Transocean CEO Steve Newman, and Halliburton CEO David Lesar urging the creation of an independent fund for outside scientists and researchers.

Rep. Markey called this fund the Surface and Underwater Research Fund, or “SURF”. While BP has committed to donating these funds today, Halliburton and Transocean have yet to do so.

BP said that the key questions to be addressed by this 10-year research program reflect discussions with the US government and academic scientists in Washington DC last week. BP will fund research to examine topics including:

  • Where are the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant going under the action of ocean currents?

  • How do oil, the dispersed oil and the dispersant behave on the seabed, in the water column, on the surface, and on the shoreline?

  • What are the impacts of the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant on the biota of the seabed, the water column, the surface, and the shoreline?

  • How do accidental releases of oil compare to natural seepage from the seabed?

  • What is the impact of dispersant on the oil? Does it help or hinder biodegradation?

  • How will the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant interact with tropical storms, and will this interaction impact the seabed, the water column and the shoreline?

  • What can be done to improve technology to detect oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the seabed, in the water column, and on the surface?

  • What can be done to improve technology for remediating the impact of oil accidentally released to the ocean?

BP already has ongoing marine research programs in the Gulf of Mexico. Building on these, BP will appoint an independent advisory panel to construct the long term research program. Where appropriate, the studies may be coordinated with the ongoing natural resources damages assessment. More immediately, a baseline of information for the long term research program is needed. A first grant to Louisiana State University will help kick start this work.

Subsequent awards will be controlled by the independent advisory board.

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