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BP oil disaster nears Florida beaches

Other News Materials 3 June 2010 13:22
Florida was bracing for disaster Thursday as the BP oil slick moved within 11 km of its pristine panhandle beaches, while BP engineers continued to struggle with the newest approach to containing flow from its six-week-old gushing well.
BP oil disaster nears Florida beaches

Florida was bracing for disaster Thursday as the BP oil slick moved within 11 km of its pristine panhandle beaches, while BP engineers continued to struggle with the newest approach to containing flow from its six-week-old gushing well, DPA reported.

"We need to respond. We need to protect our state," Florida Governor Charlie Crist was quoted as saying in the Miami Herald Thursday.

On Wednesday, Admiral Thad Allen, who is coordinating the US government's response, said the slick had also spread east to the shores of Mississippi and Alabama. Until now, Louisiana has born the brunt of the slick on 200 km of its beaches and marshes.

The US government expanded its no-fishing area to 37 per cent of the federal fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico, most significantly into an area off southwest Florida near the dry Tortugas, raising added concern about Florida.

BP has run into new trouble with its latest effort to contain the well that ruptured on April 20.

Allen said BP had successfully managed a first cut of the longer leaking pipe, called the marine riser, over which it planned to place a small cap that would collect and siphon most of the oil to the surface about 1.6 kilometres above.

But the diamond wire saw became stuck in the piping as they attempted to refine the cut in order to get a tighter fit for the containment dome. Engineers, using robotic submarines, managed to dislodge the saw by late Wednesday, according to the New York Times. An alternative tool, a large shears, would probably take up the new efforts, the report said.

The only hope for permanently closing down the well lies in two relief wells being drilled parallel to the damaged one, but these will not be finished until August. BP on Saturday gave up on plugging the oil gusher with its "top- kill" approach, sending its stock price plummeting more than 15 per cent. Florida was bracing for disaster Thursday as the BP oil slick moved within 11 km of its pristine panhandle beaches, while BP engineers continued to struggle with the newest approach to containing flow from its six-week-old gushing well.

"We need to respond. We need to protect our state," Florida Governor Charlie Crist was quoted as saying in the Miami Herald Thursday.

On Wednesday, Admiral Thad Allen, who is coordinating the US government's response, said the slick had also spread east to the shores of Mississippi and Alabama. Until now, Louisiana has born the brunt of the slick on 200 km of its beaches and marshes.

The US government expanded its no-fishing area to 37 per cent of the federal fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico, most significantly into an area off southwest Florida near the dry Tortugas, raising added concern about Florida.

BP has run into new trouble with its latest effort to contain the well that ruptured on April 20.

Allen said BP had successfully managed a first cut of the longer leaking pipe, called the marine riser, over which it planned to place a small cap that would collect and siphon most of the oil to the surface about 1.6 kilometres above.

But the diamond wire saw became stuck in the piping as they attempted to refine the cut in order to get a tighter fit for the containment dome. Engineers, using robotic submarines, managed to dislodge the saw by late Wednesday, according to the New York Times. An alternative tool, a large shears, would probably take up the new efforts, the report said.

The only hope for permanently closing down the well lies in two relief wells being drilled parallel to the damaged one, but these will not be finished until August. BP on Saturday gave up on plugging the oil gusher with its "top- kill" approach, sending its stock price plummeting more than 15 per cent.

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