BP's next attempt to stop oil leak set for Wednesday

Published online: May 24, 2010 News
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A BP executive is defending his company's attempts to stop a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico amid growing frustration and suggestions that the federal government take over the effort.

Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, told CNN's "American Morning" that the company also is frustrated that several efforts have failed to stem the flow of oil that continues to churn into seawater.

"We won't quit until we get this job done," he said. "We're doing everything we can."

The company's latest effort to plug the leak is on track to happen Wednesday morning, he said. BP plans to pump thick, viscous fluid twice the density of water into the site of the leak to stop the flow so the well can then be sealed with cement in a "top kill" procedure.

Suttles acknowledged Monday that the federal government could take over the effort, but he said he did not think the results would be different.

If the top kill procedure does not work, he said, BP will try to fit a second, smaller containment dome over a ruptured pipe from which oil is gushing. The first attempt with a containment dome did not succeed in stopping the leak. If the second dome does not work, he said, the company would "still have plenty of other options."

However, a final, permanent solution could take until August - the estimated completion date for a relief well that is being dug along with other efforts to stop the leak, said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration's point man in the Gulf.

By the time the leaking well is finally capped, the amount of oil discharged could be comparable to the total released in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, Allen said.

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