Environmental news from California and beyond

« Previous Post | Greenspace Home | Next Post »

Gulf oil spill: Setback for untested containment dome

May 8, 2010 |  1:09 pm

BP officials said Saturday afternoon that they have encountered a 
setback in deploying a 100-ton containment dome over the massive Gulf of Mexico oil leak, but were not ready to declare the effort a failure.

Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said that hydrates --- crystals that look like slush --- had formed at the top of the dome, clogging the opening that is supposed to funnel oil up to a waiting ship.

The four-story metal structure was moved aside and is resting nearby on the seafloor, 5,000 feet beneath the surface, while engineers attempt to figure out a solution.

Suttles expects it will take several days to try and remedy the problem.  Over the past day officials have been careful not to raise expectations about this containment strategy, which has never  before been attempted at such ocean depths.

--Bettina Boxall


Oil-fixerIce crystals form inside oil box, containment in question

INTERACTIVE: Containing the leak

Oil spill takes toll on Cambodian, Vietnamese fishermen

PHOTOS: Oil spill spreads in the Gulf of Mexico

What if an oil spill happened at an Arctic well?

Oil slick reaches Louisiana's barrier islands

Volunteers gather hair to help mop up oil spill

Graphic by Mark Hafer