BP puts containment cap on gushing Gulf well pipe
BP made promising strides in its latest bid to capture some of the oil spewing from its ruptured deep-sea well in the Gulf of Mexico, while President Barack Obama called off an overseas trip and prepared for another visit on Friday to the spill-stricken U.S. Gulf Coast.
After failing days ago to plug the well, BP Plc managed on Thursday to shear away the gushing well pipe a mile below the ocean surface, then lowered a containment cap over the jagged hole left atop the crippled wellhead assembly in its latest bid to curtail the oil flow.
The placement of the cylindrical containment cap was confirmed by the U.S. disaster response chief, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, in a statement describing the move as a "positive development" but "only a temporary and partial fix."
"It will be some time before we can confirm that this method will work and to what extent it will mitigate the release of oil into the environment," Allen said.
Once the containment cap is firmly in place over the wellhead, the plan is to start funneling at least some of the escaping oil and gas into a large hose that would carry it from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico to the surface, where it would be collected in ships and safely removed.
Photo shows the LMRP containment cap being maneuvered to the area of the cut riser pipe at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico in this video image taken from a BP live video feed June 3, 2010.