BP: 23,290 barrels of leaking oil captured Sunday

HOUSTON (Reuters) - BP Plc said on Monday that its oil-capture systems at the massive Gulf of Mexico leak collected or burned off 23,290 barrels (978,180 gallons/3.7 million liters) of crude on Sunday.

Flames come off the side of the Discoverer Enterprise Drill Ship in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast line June 13, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Gardner

The British energy company is using two different systems to capture some of the oil spewing into the ocean from the deep-sea offshore well that ruptured on April 20.

Its containment cap system, installed on June 3, collected 14,570 barrels on Sunday, BP said. A second system, started up on June 16, burned off 8,720 barrels on Sunday, BP said. The systems have a total capacity of 28,000 barrels a day, according to BP.

An undetermined amount of crude continues to gush into the sea despite BP’s two collection systems.

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen was slated to provide an update of the spill response at 11 a.m. CDT (12 p.m. EDT).

Overall, BP has collected 231,190 barrels of oil from the containment cap system that channels oil to Transocean Ltd’s Discoverer Enterprise drill ship a mile above at the water’s surface, according to BP figures.

A drillship is a vessel equipped with a drilling rig that can stay in place for long periods of time while drilling, testing and completing offshore wells.

The second system siphons oil through a hose connected to a failed blowout preventer at the seabed to Helix Energy Solutions’ Q4000 service rig. Unlike the drillship, that rig has no storage or processing capacity, so that collected oil must be burned off with a flare boom.

The Q4000 has burned off a total of 41,930 barrels of oil since it started up last week, according to BP figures.

The drillship’s total processing capacity is 18,000 barrels a day, while the Q4000 can handle up to 10,000 barrels a day, BP said. The cap system hit a high of 16,020 barrels on June 17, an the Q4000’s high slightly surpassed its capacity at 10,100 on June 18, BP said.

BP aims to add another oil-capture system by the end of June to increase overall capacity to up to 53,000 barrels a day, and then make further changes to boost capacity to up to 80,000 barrels a day by mid-July, according to the company’s latest plan submitted to the Coast Guard.

The U.S. government estimates that up to 60,000 barrels of oil are gushing from the ruptured well per day.

All the systems are intended to capture oil until one or both relief wells are drilled and permanently cap the leak. Those wells are expected to be finished in August, according to BP and the Coast Guard.

Reporting by Kristen Hays; Editing by Will Dunham