A top kill will be the latest attempt to plug the BP oil leak as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico spews crude into the ocean for the 36th day today (May26). After first saying the BP live video feed would be cut during the procedure, BP relented to public pressure and will keep the cameras rolling. As a fleet of ships and robotic subs prepare for the top kill, oil company executives will testify at federal hearings on the disaster in New Orleans. Meanwhile, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has possibly totaled up to 88 million gallons and counting, according to some estimates.
BP testing top kill Wednesday
The top kill, pumping thousands of pounds of mud into a five-story tall stack of pipes at the bottom of the sea, was still being debated like a mortgage modification Wednesday morning. The New York Times reports that BP would review 12 hours of tests before deciding whether to proceed. On its website, BP says the tests involve pumping drilling fluids into the well’s failed blowout preventer to measure pressures and validate flow paths.
BP top kill not a guarantee
A top kill, proven successful at plugging ruptured oil wells on land, has never been tried a mile below the ocean’s surface. Officials said it could take several days to determine whether the top kill has stopped the BP oil leak and there is no guarantee it will work. It could be the last best hope of shutting down the BP oil leak until relief wells can be drilled. BP has already spent an estimated $760 million fighting the oil spill, and two relief wells being drilled as a last resort to seal the well may take until August to complete.
BP relents on live video feed
The BP oil spill live video feed has given the world a front row seat to the relentless gusher of pollutants being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. BP originally planned to cut the live video feed from the sea floor during the top kill procedure. The oil company said “very significant changes in the appearance of the flows at the seabed may be expected. These will not provide a reliable indicator of the overall progress, or success or failure, of the top kill operation as a whole.” However, the Washington Post reports that after a protest from Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), one of the congressmen grilling oil company executives in federal hearings on the disaster, BP said it will continue the live video feed.
BP top kill could backfire
BP may have been concerned about continuing the oil spill live video feed because there is a big chance the top kill could end up creating an even bigger leak than they are dealing with now. The BBC reports that the well hole is lined with a steel casing. If the high density mud, under very high pressure, ends up bursting segments of the casing, it could start increasing the BP oil leak by as much as 5 to 15 percent. If the top kill does fail, BP’s other options include another attempt at installing a containment dome, or the installation of another blowout preventer on top of the one that failed to cause the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010.