BP Turns to Containment Valve

Experts think containment valve might make things worse
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 30, 2010 5:56 AM CDT
BP Turns to Containment Valve
The gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 5:19am.   (AP Photo/BP PLC)

BP is hurriedly devising yet another mix of risky undersea robot maneuvers and containment devices to fight the worst oil spill in US history, after the most ambitious bid yet to stop the Gulf of Mexico gusher ended in failure. Now, BP hopes to saw through a pipe leading out from the well and cap it with a funnel-like device using the same remotely guided robots that have failed in other tries.

BP's COO Doug Suttles refused to handicap the likelihood the new plan will work, and said cutting off the damaged riser isn't expected to increase the flow of leaking oil significantly. Experts have countered that a bend in the damaged riser likely was restricting the flow somewhat, so slicing it off and installing a new containment valve is risky. "If they can't get that valve on, things will get much worse," says one, adding he thinks BP can succeed with the valve, but that "It's a scary proposition." (More Gulf oil spill stories.)

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