Oil leak setback, containment box not working - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oil leak setback, containment box not working

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

GULF OF MEXICO (WLOX) - BP officials say ice-like crystals hindered attempts to lower a containment box over the source of the oil leak some 5,000 feet below surface.

These crystals, which are actually called gas hydrates, can form at such depths in the cold temperatures.

"What they did was form on the inside of the dome which made the dome buoyant and plugged the top of the dome where the oil would come out. We did anticipate hydrates being a problem but not this significant," said BP's Chief Executive Officer Doug Suttles.

Suttles said the structure is sitting about 200 meters away from the source of the leak on the sea floor. He said in the next 48 hours, crew will work to see if there's a way to overcome the issue. In the meantime, he said BP continues to work on other solutions to contain the leak.

"We've always progressed multiple options, one those people refer to in the industry as a junk shot. All it means is that we take ground up material, inject it into a blowout preventer and plug up the leak site. It's like stopping up a toilet," said Suttles.

In addition, work continues on the drilling of a relief well. Suttles said work is moving ahead of plan but still could take a couple of months to complete.

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