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BP to attempt tricky oil spill shutoff

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BP to attempt tricky oil spill shutoff
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BP will carry on showing a live video feed as it makes another attempt to plug the gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well. Washington requested that the pictures continue.

President Obama has been venting frustration over the energy giant’s inability to contain what is likely to be the largest US oil spill ever. “Plug the damn hole,” he is said to have told government officials.

Today, BP will try to do just that. It plans to fire heavy mud and cement down into the well, 1,500 metres underwater. A complex manoeuvre known as ‘top kill’, it has never been attempted before at such depths. BP says it has a 60 to 70 per cent chance of working.

“If it was on land, we would have a very high confidence of success,” said BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward. “But because it is in 5,000 feet of water, we need to be realistic about the issues around operating in a mile of water.”

The pressure on BP is huge amid claims that warning signs preceding the explosion that triggered the leak were ignored.

As the environmental disaster deepens, Barack Obama is set to announce tougher off-shore drilling safety requirements before visiting the Louisiana Gulf coast on Friday.

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