Money Matters - Simplified

BP to persist with Corexit 9500 dispersant

Approximately 715,000 gallons of dispersant has been applied since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Claiming that the chemical product it is presently using is the superlative choice, BP Plc has refused demands from government and environmentalists to employ a less-toxic dispersant.

The owner of the ruptured well claimed that any alternative to the dispersant that is being used now could pose a risk in the long run.

Present dispersant highly toxic
At present BP is using Corexit 9500. which features high in terms of toxicity and low in terms of efficacy in comparison to 18 other EPA-approved dispersants.

"Based on the information that is available today, BP continues to believe that Corexit was the best and most appropriate choice at the time when the incident occurred, and that Corexit remains the best option for subsea application," BP said.

The EPA, had, in a directive issued Thursday, ordered BP to find a less toxic but equally effective chemical than Corexit 9500.

The instructions also demanded that the replacement should be effected within 72 hours.

The availability of this substitute had to be abundant given the enormous need.

Sea Brat 4 only alternative
The only substituted that fulfilled the criterion of being effective, less toxic and available in mass quantities was Sea Brat 4.

The EPA, had, in a directive issued Thursday, ordered BP to find a less toxic but equally effective chemical than Corexit 9500.

However, BP averred that the product "contains a small amount of a chemical that may degrade to a nonylphenol."

Nonylphenol is an organic chemical that can prove lethal to aquatic life. It has the potency to stay in the environment for years.

Corexit, however, "does not contain chemicals that degrade into NP and the manufacturer indicates that Corexit reaches its maximum biodegradability within 28 days of application", BP said in a response to the directive.

The imbroglio
John Sheffield, president of Alabaster Corp., manufacturer of Sea Brat, however was not satisfied with BP’s response.

He claimed that BP is "nitpicking my product because they want to use what they've always used."

Sheffield said that nonylphenol constituted less than 1 percent of the Sea Brat dispersant. "I've already diffused this issue with the EPA," he said, claiming the agency "accepted that response days ago."

BP said that it would provide a detailed account of the alternatives that it assessed along with the reason(s) why there were not employed.

"We will continue to review and discuss the science through the end of the 72-hour window on Sunday, and then we will reach a decision," an EPA spokesman said.