BP PLC, facing rising public anger in the U.S., began Monday its third attempt to contain oil from its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, but the risky operation could make the spill worse in the short term.
The latest procedure involves slicing off the leaking pipe at the top of the well's broken blow-out preventer, placing a cap over the leak and channeling the captured oil and gas to a vessel on the surface. BP officials said the procedure could take from four days to a week, and it already has two different caps on the ocean floor, ready to be deployed.
BP didn't try this approach sooner because it feared the kinks in the pipe still attached to the blowout preventer were acting as a choke on the leak. Removing the pipe could lead to a more violent surge of oil.
Wall Street Journal, June 1