News / USA

BP Starts Operation to Stop Oil Leak

'Top Kill' procedure aimed at stopping the flow of oil from a sunken oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico
'Top Kill' procedure aimed at stopping the flow of oil from a sunken oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico

BP oil company is pumping heavy mud into a leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, but officials say it is very early into the procedure, known as "top kill,".  Company officials say it may be two days before they know if the technique is successful.

BP crews began pumping heavy mud late Wednesday from a set of surface vessels about 80 kilometers off the shore of Louisiana. The mud flows down through tubes to the well head, 1.5 kilometers below the surface, and pushes against oil that is escaping from the well. The goal is to reverse the flow of oil, enabling crews to pump concrete to seal off the well.

Several hours into the work, BP's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, said the job was proceeding as planned. He said crews had pumped 7,000 barrels of heavy mud so far, and would continue pumping until they regain control of the well.

"We expect these activities to be complete sometime over the next 24 hours, but I would stress this could take longer," he said.  "We are going to make sure we do the job right and thoroughly."

BP has deployed several large vessels and a fleet of remote controlled submarines to help stop the oil leak. A video feed from one of the submarines showed the color of the material escaping the well head changed shortly after the so-called top kill procedure began. Suttles said the video suggested that mud was flowing into the well as planned, but it was too early to know more.

"The way we will know the job has been successful is when we monitor the well and recognize that it is not flowing, it is no longer flowing. And we will be doing that by monitoring the pressure and the visual observations, but most importantly the pressure data which we are monitoring continuously," said Suttles.

Clean-up crews are continuing the massive task of skimming oil from water in the Gulf of Mexico and scraping oil off beaches in Louisiana. Doug Suttles said so far the oil spill had hit about 160 kilometers of U.S. coastline and 12 hectares of marshland.

The federal coordinator for the spill, Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said she is hopeful about shutting off the oil leak, but clean-up work poses a long-term challenge.

"Even if declared successful, I want to emphasize we will still be here fighting the spill response, making sure this region is made whole, and its people are made whole," said Landry.

U.S. officials have closed 20 percent of federal fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the spill. Fishermen in Louisiana and other affected areas are pressing BP to compensate them for the losses to their business.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid