BP Employs Technologies to Contain Gulf Spill

12 May 2010 (Last Updated May 12th, 2010 18:30)

BP announced that it is preparing to stem the unchecked flow of oil from the ruptured well that threatens an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In a statement, the company said subsea efforts continue to focus on progressing options to stop the flow of oil from the well thro

BP announced that it is preparing to stem the unchecked flow of oil from the ruptured well that threatens an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a statement, the company said subsea efforts continue to focus on progressing options to stop the flow of oil from the well through interventions via the blow-out preventer (BOP) and attempts to contain the flow of oil at source to reduce the amount spreading on the surface.

"Further investigation of the failed BOP, using remotely operated vehicles and a variety of diagnostic techniques, has increased our understanding of the condition of the BOP and allowed planning to continue for a number of potential interventions, including for a so-called 'top kill' of the well," the company said in a statement.

BP said it hoped to have a small containment dome in place later today, its latest attempt to plug the 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons / 795,000l) a day of crude gushing into the sea.

BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said the company is studying whether to try just positioning the top hat over the leak or inserting a tube directly into the existing equipment. Both methods will involve siphoning the crude to a tanker.

Nearly 100 lawsuits have already been filed across the Gulf region and the disaster, which lawyers see becoming one of the biggest class actions in US history, involves billions of dollars in potential liabilities, reports Reuters.

Yesterday, the company said it was spraying more chemical dispersants than ever before used on a single US slick to reduce damage from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The dispersant chemicals scrub the oil from the water breaking the crude into small clumps that microbes will eventually be able to digest, however, there are worries that the chemicals will cause environmental damage and cause more harm than the oil itself.

The EPA and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration will assess results of BP's third test of sub-sea dispersant applications to determine whether the practice can continue, reports Bloomberg.

To date, BP has sprayed 368,000 gallons of chemical dispersant to help clean the ocean.

At least 5,000 barrels of oil a day have leaked from the ruptured well after the 20 April blast that destroyed the Transocean-owned Deepwater Horizon rig, which sunk two days later.