By Frank James

BP on Saturday confirmed what many people already suspected, the failure of its "top kill" effort to choke off with heavy drilling mud the undersea gusher that's polluting the Gulf of Mexico with oil and gas.

The energy giant said it's moving on to yet another method, called the "lower marine riser package" BP will use its undersea robots to saw off the riser pipe at the top of the several-stories tall piece of equipment called the blowout preventer which, as we all know, failed to prevent the blowout that caused the ongoing disaster. Oil has been escaping from that broken riser pipe by the tens of thousands of barrels every day since the April 20 accident.

By sawing off the riser pipe, BP's engineers hope to place the LMRP directly atop the blowout preventer and capture much of the escaping oil.

Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, said that even though the LMRP is customized for the pipe, it won't be able to capture all the escaping oil.

We aren't exactly back to square one since we now know a lot more about what won't work, which is more than we knew before.

But it would take a wide-eyed optimist to place much stock in the next method since it's probably safe to assume that if it had a high chance of succeeding, BP would have turned to it first.

categories: Accidents and Disasters

7:11 - May 29, 2010