The US Government said it could remove BP from efforts to seal a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico if it does not plug the leak fast and clean up the mess caused by the oil.

US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said BP has missed “deadline after deadline” in its efforts to seal the leaking well more than a month after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion triggered the disaster.

“If we find they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ll push them out of the way appropriately and we’ll move forward to make sure that everything is being done to protect the people of the Gulf Coast, the ecological values of the Gulf Coast and the values of the American people,” Salazar told reporters.

The Louisiana Government has also attacked BP and the federal authorities for not acting fast enough to protect the state’s shorelines from oil damage.

Governor Bobby Jindal accused the US Coast Guard and BP of being slow to make decisions and delaying the supply of necessary clean-up equipment as oil washed onto the state’s fragile marshland.

Jindal added that further delays to protect the coastline are unacceptable.

BP said the one-mile long tube it laid at sea has captured only 1,360bpd of the oil a day recently, a number that has been declining from the 5,000bpd the tube was siphoning off three days ago.

BP said it will try to permanently plug the leaking well on 25 or early 26 May by injecting heavy drilling fluid and cement near the top of the well, a technique known as top kill.