News / USA

BP Tries Again To Seal Oil Leak as Memorial Service Held for Oil Workers

'Top kill' procedure diagram
'Top kill' procedure diagram

BP oil company is readying a procedure it hopes will finally seal a leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. The plan comes as families held a memorial for the oil workers who died in the accident that caused the leak.

BP officials say they hope to deploy the fix as early as Wednesday to plug the leak about a kilometer and a half under water. They say the method involves attaching a series of tubes to a massive valve that sits atop the well on the sea floor.

Kent Wells, a senior vice president for BP, says surface ships will then pump large amounts of heavy mud down to plug the well.

"Ultimately when we pump enough mud, we will be able to overcome the flow of the well and completely bring it static," said Kent Wells. "That is the plan, that is what we're working on to make happen."

BP officials and oil experts have been studying the plan for weeks to ensure the method is likely to succeed and not make the problem worse. Experts say the so-called "top kill" method has been used many times before, but never on a deep water well.

Meanwhile, family members and colleagues held a memorial service for 11 workers who died on the drill rig Deepwater Horizon, when it exploded and sank last month. The crew was nearly finished drilling the well when the blow out occurred.

The owner of the rig, Transocean, did not allow reporters to attend the memorial, but released a video feed of the service in Mississippi.

Transocean CEO Steven Newman said many crew members were veteran oil workers, and said the accident will not overshadow their careers.

"And I promise you, you will remembered for your history of exemplary performance," said Steven Newman.

Newman gave sculpted metal hard hats to family members at the memorial service, as a symbol of the safety equipment used by workers every day on the offshore rig. He also read tributes to each of the workers who died in the accident.

"Karl Kleppinger had been working the rigs for 10 years," he said. "And you can tell just by looking at Karl's photo that he was a man of big passions."

At the time of the accident, 126 people were on the rig. The other 115 were evacuated, with a few people suffering minor injuries.

Related video report by Brian Wagner

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