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Saturday, May 29, 2010

'Top Kill' Fails to Stop Flow of Oil From Gulf Leak

BP PLC has abandoned its effort to plug a mile-deep oil and gas gusher in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico by injecting drilling fluids after failing to stem the flow of hydrocarbons.

"We have been unable to overcome the flow from the well," said BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles, in a press briefing. "We now believe it is time to move on to the next of our options," he said, adding it wasn't clear exactly why the so-called top-kill procedure started on Wednesday failed to stem the flow of oil.

Engineers will now attempt to contain the flow of oil from the leak with a so called lower marine riser package, or LMRP, cap. This operation would involve removing a broken drilling pipe that lies atop the failed blowout preventer and cap the valve with a siphon that will take the oil to the surface. Mr. Suttles said the LMRP cap procedure would take four to seven days. The LMRP cap is a newly made version of a device formerly referred to as a "top hat."

"The next thing to do is to capture all of the flow or as much of the flow as we can," he said, adding BP "has a lot of confidence" in the LMRP cap, but couldn't guarantee success. "We believe the LMRP cap has the potential to capture the great majority of (the leaking oil)." (Continues here at WSJ)

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