BP has launched its ‘top kill’ deep sea operation to choke off a gushing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and initial impressions are that it is going well.
The energy giant is under intense pressure from Washington to bring a swift end to the five-week-old spill that threatens an environmental disaster and caused a political storm.
This latest move is seen as a make or break attempt although the company says it has a back-up.
A tired-looking BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward explained: “Our plan is to move to a containment device that will be sealed on the top of the blowout preventer that is on the sea bed and will be deployed within a three or four-day time window if the ‘top kill’ is not successful.”
The gushing oil leak threatens some of the United States richest fisheries and has already soiled more than 150 kilometres of Louisiana’s beaches. Environmentalists are concerned about the fragile ecosystems in bayous teaming with life.
Commercial fishing, shrimping and oyster harvests have been shut down for weeks along much of the Gulf coast. Louisiana’s tourist industry, which accounts for much of the area’s employment, is experiencing its worst season in decades.