Allen, BP meet on claims process

June 9, 2010 at 8:37 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 9 (UPI) -- Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen met with BP officials Wednesday and called for "more detail and openness from BP" in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Allen, national incident commander, said before meeting with officials of the British energy company officials he had written to BP President and Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward requesting the meeting with claims processors because of concerns about the time it was taking to process loss claims and get money to claimants.

The meeting was intended to ensure "every legitimate claim is honored and paid in an efficient manner," the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center said in a news release.

"BP, as a responsible party, is accountable for making the communities, individuals and business impacted by this spill whole again," Allen said. "We need more detail and openness from BP to fulfill our oversight responsibilities to the American people and ensure that BP is meeting its commitment to restore the Gulf Coast."

The session was the first in a series of meetings federal officials will conduct "to ensure that BP's claims process is transparent, prompt and responsive to the unique needs of the impacted communities citizens and businesses," the statement said.

"They own the data. We need the data," Allen said earlier Wednesday at an oil spill briefing. "We asked for it."

He said he sent another letter to BP asking the company to build in redundancy in both short- and long-term containment plans.

"We don't want anything to delay the recovery process," Allen said.

He said crews were working to suppress fumes and organic compounds rising from the gulf waters that can adversely affect cleanup crews' health. Hot weather was exacerbating the situation, he said.

Crews are capturing about 630,000 gallons of oil a day since a containment cap was installed last week.

Allen said he wanted to nail down better information about flow production to get a better idea about the amount of oil being captured. Allen previously said he has asked the appropriate people to revisit two models that have indicated ranges between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels a day and 12,000 to 25,000 barrels a day were being contained.

"I'm not going to declare victory on anything until I have absolute numbers," Allen said. "Show me the numbers."

He said he wasn't aware reports indicated oil may be percolating elsewhere on the gulf floor.

One of the concerns officials had about the failed "top kill" method, which included pumping thick fluid into the pipe, was that it would create pressure in the well bore.

"We didn't know the condition of the bore and whether it's a risk," Allen said, explaining that a crack could mean oil could leach into the strata, creating a leak from the sea floor.

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