With the failure of the pressurised mud ‘top-kill’ and ‘junk-shot’ by BP it is beginning to look like crude could continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico for another two months.
The well has now been leaking since 20th April after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire and sank. Eleven rig staff died in the accident.
Whilst all attention is on the activity at the site of the leak, BP has continued operations for the drilling of two relief wells into the field. But in the meantime the oil will continue to enter the gulf at the rate of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of gallons every day.
BP is now once again attempting to cap the well with a containment cap so that the oil could be piped to tankers on the surface. This had previously failed but BP says it has learned lessons from the previous attempts. Â This will also involve cutting the leaking oil pipe and will take some days to prepare. There are also fears that this could actually make the leak even worse.
President Obama said: "It is as enraging as it is heartbreaking, and we will not relent until this leak is contained, until the waters and shores are cleaned up, and until the people unjustly victimised by this manmade disaster are made whole,"
What makes the situation more worrying is that the hurricane season is expected to be very vigorous this year. With several storms predicted to be of at least the scale of the now infamous ‘Katrina’.
This manmade environmental disaster has already eclipsed the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, when on 24th March 1989 the tanker hit Bligh Reef in Prince Williams Sound whilst en route for Long Beach California. And very passing day sees it grow in magnitude.