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Gulf oil spill: 'Top kill' effort to seal well delayed until at least Tuesday

May 21, 2010 |  2:09 pm

Officials of oil giant BP said Friday that it will likely be at least Tuesday before engineers can attempt to plug the blown-out wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico by shooting heavy fluids into it. 

Three ultra-deepwater rigs and other equipment are at the site where the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded April 20. They're preparing for a delicate procedure called a “top kill” that BP hopes will stop the flow of oil from the well.

Crews will pump in heavy drilling mud, which is a thick, viscous fluid that's twice the density of water. It is hoped that will stop the oil; if it does, then they'll use concrete to keep more from gushing out.

BP's Doug Suttles says this hasn't been tried 5,000 feet underwater before, so engineers want to make sure everything is just right.

-- Associated Press