Top Kill Is Dead. BP Fails to Stop Gushing Oil Well in the Gulf

A makeshift Oil-Man Scarecrow was placed along the road on the way to Grand Isle, La., complete with respirator, X’ed-out eyes, and an oily fish in hand. Image by Ryan Marshall for FastCompany.com.

BP's COO Doug Suttles has announced that operation Top Kill, a plan involving the pumping of heavy mud, concrete, and junk into its gushing oil well 5,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico, has failed. The next step, the New York Times reports, is a "lower marine riser package cap," in which workers plan to saw off the riser and put a device on top to capture the oil. So far, the leak has resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Experts say anywhere from 504,000 to 4.2 million gallons a day are escaping from the well that ruptured after Transocean's Deepwater Horizon platform (leased by BP) exploded on April 20. Recently, scientists have discovered that a massive amount of the oil has not risen to the surface and could be lurking 1,000 feet or more under the surface of the gulf. One plume is an estimated 22 miles long. PBS has a running estimate, based on several evaluations of the flow rate (BP has not acknowledged a definitive figure).

 


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