With fears that the rate at which oil flowing into the gulf could markedly accelerate, BP have come up with an ingenious but simple plan to cap the three areas of concern. Since the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig allowing the unfettered release of crude into the Gulf of Mexico an ecological and economic disaster has been unfolding before our eyes, with BP in the frame for the costs.
At present the mile deep remnants of the rig is releasing over 200,000 barrels a day into the gulf, much of which is sweeping toward the US coast.
BP has fabricated three 98 tonne 40ft high chimney-like structures that will be lowered to cover the outlets and capture as much of the oil as possible. whilst this is going on preparations are being made to drill a Â£66 million relief well. BP hope to have the wells capped within the next few days but the whole procedure including the relief well could take months.
It is hoped that the three huge ‘domes’ will capture up to 85% of the spill. The rest can, in the short term, be dissipated by the local eco-structure. the captured oil will be channelled into the large container ship the ‘Enterprise’.
According to the Times there are accusations that BP tried to buy off local fishermen cheaply as well as including waivers in the contracts of fisherman recruited to help the clean-up effort. BP claims the waivers were included by accident.
BP may also find its liability limited under federal law as, after the Exxon Valdez Alaskan spill, it was decided that anything over $75 million (Â£50 million) the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund would pay. US senators from the states affected are trying to get this cut off quickly lifted to $10 billion (Â£6 billion).