From: Matthew Bigg, Reuters
Published May 4, 2010 05:30 AM

BP fights oil spill with welding torches, cash

BP Plc sought to stem the damage from a giant oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico with technology, welding torches and money on Tuesday as crude kept spewing from an offshore oil well deep in the Gulf of Mexico that ruptured almost two weeks ago.

The British oil company, under pressure from Washington to limit the damage, said it will try containing the crude with a massive metal, funnel-like structure. BP said it has offered the Gulf Coast states whose shores could be soiled with oil millions of dollars to move forward with recovery projects.

The looming ecological and economic disaster has started to fuel high-level opposition to the Obama administration's push to open more waters to offshore drilling to bolster energy security. The White House has said the spill could force President Barack Obama to rethink plans to open more waters.


The incident has brought into sharp focus the thorny politics of balancing U.S. energy security with protecting the environment and industries that depend on it, like fishing.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger pulled his support for expanded drilling off his state's coast, citing the Gulf spill. His about-face came after he had called for more oil drilling off California's coast to raise money for the state government, which faces a $20 billion budget shortfall.

Oil prices and stocks of BP and other companies involved are being affected as the oil leaks unchecked into the Gulf following the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers.

The slick is estimated to be at least 130 miles by 70 miles, or about the size of the U.S. state of Delaware. It threatens shipping, wildlife, beaches and one of the most fertile U.S. fishing grounds.

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