Gulf oil spill: Setback for untested containment dome
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.
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Graphic by Mark Hafer