With 5000 barrels of crude oil spewing into the environmentally delicate Gulf Of Mexico every day for the last two weeks, the Obama Administration is heaping more pressure on BP to find a way to halt the spill, before it becomes an environmental catastrophe, if it isn't already.
British oil company BP, who rent the rig, has already attempted to plug the leaking well with robot submarines, used dispersants to dissipate the surface oil and have even set the oil alight. However, all efforts have been unsuccessful.
However with the added pressure from Washington, BP has suggested containing the leaking oil using a massive metal funnel-like structure and has offered those businesses, who will be affected if the oil reaches land, millions of dollars in compensation.
The 98-ton, 40-foot funnel-like structure, and associated equipment, is expected to be deployed later this week. It is designed to channel oil through a pipe to the surface where it can be collected on a barge.
In theory, the system should collect 85 percent of the oil gushing from the sea floor, but BP has never deployed the structure at a depth of 5,000 feet and cannot guarantee that the effort will pay off.
Asked if he was confident it would work, BP spokesman John Curry said: "We sure hope so. If not, we will keep trying other options until something does work."
Calif. governor first to take u-turn on offshore drilling
In recent months former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Barrack Obama have called for more offshore oil drilling in American waters to halt its reliance on foreign oil, and better guarantee America's energy Independence.
However this week California's Austrian born governor has taken a u-turn, citing the Gulf of Mexico spill for the change of heart. And there will likely be added pressure on the Obama administration as it tries to juggle the thorny politics of balancing US energy security with protecting the environment and industries that depend on it, like fishing.
The slick is now estimated to be at least 130 miles by 70 miles, or about the size of the US state of Delaware. It threatens shipping, wildlife, beaches and one of the most fertile US fishing grounds.
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