News / USA

BP Lowers Dome Over Broken Oil Well

Dome designed to trap oil spill
Dome designed to trap oil spill

Engineers for BP oil company are working to position an oil containment dome on top of a broken well in the Gulf of Mexico to stop a three-week-old leak. Experts are hopeful, but say the technique has never been tried before on a deepwater spill.

Engineers on Friday began lowering the containment dome into the Gulf of Mexico, where submersible robots are helping to position it over the leaking well. BP officials hope the massive concrete and steel structure will provide a temporary fix for the leak, which has been pouring an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the gulf. A more permanent fix, which involves drilling a new well, is also underway.

BP's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, says it is a delicate job to place the dome without causing new damage to the well site. "They have lowered it just to the side of where the leak is, and they will be swinging it over. They have to precisely lower it over the leak point because the tolerances are quite tight," he said.

Once the dome is in place, crews plan to attach a pipe and funnel oil into a tanker ship on the water's surface.

Experts say containment domes have been used before to cap undersea oil leaks, but never on a well that is one and a half kilometers under water. The well was connected to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which caught fire and sank three weeks ago, killing 11 workers.

Meanwhile, clean-up work continues across the Gulf of Mexico. Emergency crews are skimming oil in areas of heavy concentration as well as burning oil on the surface of the water.

BP's Suttles says the burns have proven very useful at minimizing the environmental damage from the oil. "We estimate that we burned between 7,000 to 9,000 barrels of oil. This is quite substantial and we have demonstrated this is a very powerful technique and when the weather is good it will continue, which we expect for the next two days," he said.

U.S. officials have extended a temporary ban on fishing, as they track the oil spill and its impact on wildlife. They say the ban covers less than five percent of U.S. federal waters in the gulf, but scores of fishermen say it has put them out of work.

Emergency crews have confirmed that oil has washed ashore in two areas along the Louisiana coast. Wildlife officials say one spot is the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to brown pelicans and several other bird species.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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.

AppleAndroid