BP announces conclusion of ‘active’ remediation operations in three states
BP recently announced that its remediation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico have hit a key milestone, with “active cleanup operations” ending in three states after years of hard work.
Although the company’s remediation efforts continue in Louisiana, its contractors completed their work in Alabama on June 7 after ending their operations in Mississippi and Florida on May 1 and June 1 respectively, according to spokesperson Jason Ryan.
Coast Guard: Reduced scale of remediation efforts will match changing conditions
Responsibility for monitoring conditions in these states will be formally transferred to the National Response Center in the coming weeks. Coast Guard Captain Duke Walker released a statement calling this transition an “important step,” citing the need to continue making progress on cleanup goals while “managing the scale of the response to meet conditions on the ground.”
At this point, “managing the scale” of operations means cutting back on personnel and equipment in a way that reduces the cost and complexity of continuing the remediation project, while ensuring that adequate resources remain on hand to address any residual issues that arise going forward.
Additional remediation efforts will be undertaken when necessary
A June 10 press release from BP asserted that “operational activity has ended on 4,272 of the 4,376 shoreline miles that were in the area of response.” However, the company will continue to play a critical role in the ongoing remediation efforts that will be required to mitigate the 2010 oil spill’s long-term impact on these areas.
Laura Folse, executive vice president for response and environmental restoration at BP, explained that although the company was reducing its footprint in the states affected by the Deepwater Horizon accident, it has “worked with the Coast Guard and other stakeholders to prepare for this transition and will maintain the resources necessary to respond when directed.”
Folse added that “should residual Macondo oil appear on the shoreline, BP remains committed and prepared to address it under the direction of the Coast Guard.”
Process Execution Challenges
Successfully reaching this stage of the process has clearly required a high degree of operational excellence on BP’s part, as the company has had to survey thousands of miles of shoreline and deploy multiple remediation strategies to make the Gulf Coast as safe as possible for people and wildlife.
At its height, the project reportedly involved the participation of more than 48,000 individuals. To date, the company said it has committed more than $14 billion and 70 million personnel hours to the multi-state remediation project.
Coordinating this massive cleanup effort has required BP to manage vast amounts of financial, operational and environmental data. In addition to ensuring that it was effectively restoring the local environment, the company was required to maintain compliance with a complex set of legal requirements surrounding the remediation project. Information management was a key component of BP’s efforts and success. Planning and executing projects on this massive scale requires a strong emphasis on information technology and deep integration with operational management systems.