BP’s Top Kill Strategy Fails

British Petroleum announced today that their top kill strategy to contain the massive oil leak in the Gulf has failed and they are abandoning further efforts.  They are shifting efforts to a what is termed the lower marine riser package cap, where capturing oil from the leak is the goal instead of trying to stop it.

What is likely the most devastating environmental disaster in North America since before the Exxon Valdez tragedy continues to degrade.  An estimated 70,000 barrels of oil a day is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, and containment efforts continue to fail.

SaveOurGulf reports that:

Steve Wereley, a Purdue University professor, has calculated the leak to be between 56,000 to 84,000 barrels of oil per day (versus BP’s proclaimed estimate of 5,000 barrels a day). ** 70,000 barrels is equal to roughly 2.8 million gallons.

They continue, “During a press conference on May 29, 2010 at 5:10 p.m. BP Chief Operating Officer.  Doug Suttles announced that the Top Kill will no longer be continued.  BP’s next move is to cut off the bent Riser Pipe and replace it with a Lower Marine  Riser Package Cap (LMRP Cap).  Mr. Suttles stated that he believes that the LMRP Cap will capture a great majority of the flow but not all of it.”

The PBS News Hour has a live stream of the oil spill in progress available here.

The ‘top kill’ strategy began 3 days ago involved cramming the shaft with materials and heavy liquids in order to create a foundation that would allow insertion of a cement cap.

With the magnitude of this spill increasing far beyond industry estimates, radical solutions are now being floated by some analysts including the nuclear option.  The former Soviet Union plugged a massive natural gas leak in the desert by detonating a nuclear device.  Although this stopped a raging inferno that had gone on for 3 years, the environmental consequences are not appealing.

As the pressure mounts for tangible results in ending this catastrophic oil leak, BP has become increasingly restrictive in access to information.  A photojournalist for Times-Picayune news Ted Jackson, stated that “access to the spill is slowly being strangled off.” A recent poll demonstrates the public disdain for the entire disaster, with 51% of Americans now opposing off-shore drilling.  Public relations efforts for BP have further been complicated when they recently bussed in 400 volunteers to help with the cleanup for a photo op with President Obama, only to just bus them right back out again after he had left.


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