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BP Announces Failure of "Top Kill" Attempt to Stop Oil Spill

Energy company BP has announced that its latest attempt to stop the discharge of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico has failed.

In a Saturday evening briefing, BP executive Doug Suttles said the company was unable to stop the flow of oil using heavy drilling fluid and other materials to plug the well.

Suttles said BP's next tactic will be an attempt to install a cap on the drill pipe near the sea floor. Suttles said the cap would stop most of the flow, but he cautioned it would take four days to install.

The well has been gushing an estimated 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil a day since last month, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

U.S. President Barack Obama says he is taking full responsibility for stopping the leak, while holding BP accountable for the costs.

Mr. Obama pledged during a trip to the Louisiana coast Friday to triple the manpower to help areas where oil is washing ashore.

The president promised not to abandon residents of the Gulf Coast who he said are "watching their livelihoods wash up on the beach."

The company is continuing to drill two relief wells, which are considered the best solution to the problem. But work on those will not be completed for at least a couple of months.

BP has said efforts to contain the leak have cost it some $940 million.

The crisis began when an oil rig exploded in the Gulf on April 20, killing 11 workers and rupturing the undersea well. The U.S. government estimates that between 70 million and 150 million liters of oil have gushed out since the explosion. The rupture has caused environmental degradation in surrounding waters and coastlines.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.