News / USA

BP Readies New Plan to Contain Oil Spill

The BP oil company says it is readying a new plan to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  

For days, the BP oil company tried to plug the gushing well with blasts of heavy mud.

Late Saturday, the so-called "top kill" procedure was declared a failure.  But BP executives swore they would not give up.

BP Managing Director Bob Dudley says they will shift strategy from stopping the spill to containing it.  He says they will rely on undersea robot maneuvers to help capture the oil on the sea floor and move it to the surface for collection.

Dudley told the NBC television program Meet the Press this plan is simpler than "top kill," and more likely to succeed. "It will be a four to seven day operation.  I think the probability of it working is much different than the top kill," he said.

But government officials indicate they are skeptical.

The top White House advisor on energy and the environment is Carol Browner.   She told Meet the Press there is a likelihood oil will keep pouring out of the deep water well until late August, when work is completed on two relief wells. "This is probably the biggest environmental disaster we have ever faced in this country.  It is certainly the biggest oil spill and we are responding with the biggest environmental response," she said.

Browner said the government is preparing for the worst, and has been since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20th, killing 11 workers and rupturing the well.   She stressed that BP originally planned to dig only one relief well, but the government insisted on two.

The Chairman of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee - Democrat Edward Markey - says the White House has good reason to be wary of anything BP says or does. "BP has been making it up as they go along the whole way.  They have not been prepared.  They do not know for sure what the result is going to be of anything which they are doing," he said.

Markey was interviewed on the CBS program Face the Nation.

He chairs one of the many Congressional panels probing the disaster.

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