Oil could continue leaking into Gulf until August - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oil could continue leaking into Gulf until August


By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - If you can't stop the leak, contain it. That's the approach BP is now taking.  The company says it will likely be August before the leak is stopped. That's when two relief wells are scheduled to be finished. 

BP's next attempt to stem the flow of oil will involve capping the leak by way of a Lower Marine Riser Packaged cap or LMRP. During the process, the damaged riser or pipe leaking oil would be cut and covered with a containment cap. Oil would be siphoned up to a rig above surface. The process will likely take anywhere between four to seven days. 

BP CEO Tony Hayward told WLOX in a one-on-one interview Sunday that the company is confident in this containment approach. But, even with this method,  there are still questions left unanswered.

"The uncertainty is about what percentage of the oil can we capture," Hayward said.

Warning flags are already being raised. Some say cutting the pipe could result in more oil leaking into the Gulf.

Carol Browner, the White House Advisor on Energy and Climate Change, is among those questioning BP's latest plan.

"Well, when they cut the riser, our experts are telling us it may be as much as 20 percent more oil coming out," Browner said.

It's a claim BP's CEO disputes. 

"I think we can be fairly certain from all the analysis that we now have done, all of the diagnostics and engineering say that the kink in the riser is not an impediment to flow.  So we're not going to change volume," Hayward said. 

Hayward spent the day Sunday touring staging grounds in Venice, Louisiana and talking to workers. Along the tour, Hayward said the company is shifting into containment mode both below and above surface. 

He also said the company was taking a more aggressive approach to cleaning up the Louisiana shoreline.  A series of "flotels" or housing areas have been set up to get workers closer to worksites.

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