BP: Plug for underwater oil leak in Gulf of Mexico fails

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

The top kill procedure implemented by BP on the leaking Deepwater Horizon oil well on Wednesday has failed. According to David Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, "We have been unable to overcome the flow." Suttles stated that after studying three days of results, BP determined that the procedure was a failure.

On Wednesday, BP began pumping mud into the leaking well, a procedure known as top kill. BP chief executive Tony Howard said it would take at least 24 hours to determine if the procedure was successful. The procedure has worked before in surface situations, but was not previously attempted at 5,000 feet underwater.

"BP Oil Flood Protest" in New Orleans

The procedure involves pumping heavyweight drilling mud from the surface through a drill pipe, which directs the mud into a manifold lying on the sea bed. From the manifold, the mud is pumped into the blowout preventer, which is sitting on the well.

BP says it pumped 30,000 barrels of mud into the well at rates of up to 80 barrels a minute. After three attempts, the well was still leaking.

The next option, the sixth, is called the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) Cap containment system. This procedure involves a ROV using a saw to cut off the leaking pipe and place a cap on the pipe. The LMRP Cap is at the scene and the procedure is expected to take four days to complete.

In New Orleans hundreds gathered in protest, calling for a fast stop to the spill and greater efforts to mitigate its ecological and economic effects.


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