Miami Dade County Community Forum

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

BP downsizes Miami oil spill operations center- Miami Herald

Excerpt from the Miami Herald:

"With no oil to fight in South Florida, BP has begun downsizing its Miami operations center. It's giving up one high-rise office near Brickell Avenue and isn't sure how long it will keep a lease on another.

For one measure of oil worries in South Florida, take the elevator up 21 floors at the Brickell Bay office tower and flip on the lights.

The vacant space once housed part of a command center that BP and the Coast Guard established to combat oil that found its way to Florida shores as far away as Miami and Fort Lauderdale. That never happened, and now BP and Washington consider the possibility so remote they're unwinding their joint Miami post.

``We have what I'll call `right-sized' our presence,'' said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Moorlag, a Coast Guard spokesman assigned to the Miami center. ``We're still here. But we're just here at a reduced capacity.''

In June, BP rented the space and other offices on the 15th floor as oil from the underwater BP well spread to the Florida Panhandle and threatened to follow sea currents to Key West and up the state's eastern coast.

Last month, roughly 120 people worked at the Florida Peninsula Command Post -- a mix of BP staffers and contractors, government meteorologists and scientists, Coast Guard officers, state officials and others.

But with the BP well capped since July 15 and now sealed with cement, downsizing has begun. BP spokesman Phil Cochrane said only about 45 people work in the center, which has been condensed to a 15th floor office in the gleaming waterfront tower, with marble floors and a fountain in the lobby.

``This is a big space with a whole lot less people than we are accustomed to,'' Cochrane wrote in an e-mail Tuesday night.
The hollowed-out Miami outpost at 1001 Brickell Bay Dr. captures the step back from crisis-mode happening across Florida.

But health advisories remain on Panhandle beaches and Florida's latest daily report on the crisis said that scattered tar balls continue to wash in with the surf on the Panhandle."

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