BP Nears Permanent Fix For Leaking Oil Well
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
Barring bad weather, the well could be plugged for good by the end of next week. NPR's Richard Harris is here with some details. Good morning.
RICHARD HARRIS: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: So, the well has been capped for 12 days now and counting. It's not leaking. But that has always been described as a temporary solution. Let's talk now about making it permanent.
HARRIS: Since the oil is not moving in the well right now, and they're actually planning to do that starting next week.
MONTAGNE: But, Richard, if they're planning to plug it from the top now, what is the point of finishing the relief well that we've all been waiting on for the past three months?
HARRIS: And if there's still oil flowing in the inner pipe or if there's still need for them to work further on the relief well, they can drill into the inner pipe with the relief well, fill that cement and that should be really the end of the story full stop.
MONTAGNE: Well that would, of course, be great news, but what about all the oil that's already poured out of the well into the Gulf?
HARRIS: And it's important to remember that in high concentrations, the stuff is toxic. It could be doing damage to marine life. But over the long run, bacteria will eventually eat it there in the water.
MONTAGNE: And given that the end is in sight, just curious, will we ever know how much oil actually spilled every day into the Gulf?
HARRIS: And in fact, scientists are doing that. They're reviewing those and refining their estimates based on the velocity of those flows and more details. And that could take a couple of months before we know. But one thing we're sure of it's a lot of oil.
MONTAGNE: Richard, thanks very much.
HARRIS: My pleasure.
MONTAGNE: NPR's Richard Harris.
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