BP Moves towards Next Attempt to Cap Oil Spill
    2010-06-02 03:38:35     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang

Related: Obama Vows to Bring Justice to Oil Spill Culprit

British energy giant BP began its effort to remove a damaged pipe from a leaking undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico, preparing for its attempt to siphon most of the runaway oil to a ship on the surface, BP officials said Tuesday.

The chance of success for this new attempt is higher than the 60 percent to 70 percent chance BP officials gave to BP's failed " top kill," a two-step operation of pumping heavy fluid into the well to stop the flow of oil and then sealing the well with cement, BP Managing Director Robert Dudley said on NBC's "Early Show."

In this new attempt, BP will saw through the pipe leaking the oil and put a cap over the spill.

"This is a lower-risk activity than what we were doing with the top kill," Dudley said of the cap. "We've gone down this path because the risks are lower. The engineering, while not simple, is certainly simpler than what we were trying with the top kill."

BP was making its first major cut with super sheers, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who overseas the spill response, said Tuesday. BP will also use a cutter to try to make a clean cut above the blowout preventer, then will lower a cap over it with a rubber seal.

It could take three days for the procedure to be completed and oil to be siphoned to the surface, Allen said.

BP Chief Operating Officer Dough Suttles said there was no guarantee that this effort would work. The technology also has not been tried at this depth of the ocean.

However, Suttles, who said BP has learnt from its past oil- containing efforts, said he is very hopeful. "I think we'll find out over the next couple of days."

The spill, unleashed by the explosion and sinking of the BP- leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig late April, has already leaked between 20 million and 44 million gallons of crude, according to government estimates.

The relief well is the best chance to stop the leak. But the completion of two relief wells is about two months away.



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