The New York Times is reporting for the second day in a row information that contradicts BP and federal officials in terms of the progress or lack of it in ending the gusher.
BP officials have said the "top kill" process of pumping heavy drilling mud into the well was going according to plan. Meanwhile, federal officials like Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Friday morning that the drilling mud was tamping down the oil and gas.
But a source is telling the NYT that BP's engineers have stopped the mud-pumping process because it wasn't working very well so far.
HOUSTON — BP's renewed efforts at plugging the flow of oil from its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico stalled again on Friday, as the company suspended pumping operations for the second time in two days, according to a technician involved with the response effort.
In an operation known as a "junk shot," BP engineers poured pieces of rubber, golf balls and other materials into the crippled blowout preventer, trying to clog the device that sits atop the wellhead. The maneuver was designed to work in conjunction with the continuing "top kill" operation, in which heavy drilling liquids are pumped into the well to counteract the pressure of the gushing oil.
If the efforts succeeded, officials intended to pump cement into the well to seal it. But the company suspended pumping operations at 2:30 a.m. Friday after two junk shot attempts, said the technician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the efforts.
The suspension of the effort was not announced, and appeared to again contradict statements by company and government officials that suggested the top kill procedure was progressing Friday.
Word that the top kill had been suspended came as President Obama, accompanied by Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, the leader of the government effort, toured the region effected by the largest oil spill in United States history. Mr. Obama walked along a beach dotted with balls of tar in Port Fourchon, La., and met with the parish president, Charlotte Randolph, and with the governors of Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.