Energy giant BP says it has begun pumping a mixture of heavy fluids into a leaking offshore well in its latest plan to stop the gushing flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Officials with the company said Wednesday it may take as long as two days to perform the procedure – known as “top kill.”  The company says it is not clear how long after that it will take to ensure the maneuver has been successful.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry gave the go-ahead for the operation Wednesday after consultations with government scientists.

Company officials have put the chances of success for the top kill procedure at 60 to 70 percent.

The officials say the depth of the well  – 1,500 meters beneath the surface – is the main reason success cannot be assured.  Such an operation has never been attempted before at such a depth.

The White House says President Barack Obama will hold a news conference Thursday to discuss the spill and stringent new regulations affecting the offshore oil industry.

Spokesmen say Mr. Obama will answer questions from the White House press corps one day before he returns to the Gulf himself.

BP says it will provide video of the “top kill” procedure.  Earlier, it had been reported that the company might shut off the video link of the oil spill.

Late Tuesday, two U.S. congressmen released a memo saying BP had admitted it may have made a “fundamental mistake” in the hours leading up to the oil rig explosion that killed 11 crew members and started the leak.

The memo says BP admitted it had continued work at the offshore oil well on April 20, despite receiving worrisome warning signals.

The Obama administration has come under pressure as oil washes up in the delicate Louisiana wetlands and other areas, endangering wildlife and livelihoods in commercial fishing and tourism.

The administration has deflected calls to take charge of the operation, saying it is BP’s legal responsibility to cap the leak and contain the spreading spill.

A memorial service took place Tuesday in Jackson, Mississippi, to honor the 11 workers killed in the April 20 explosion.

– Report by VOA News; Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

Comments

comments