Deepwater oil spill update

Engineers at BP are continuing their subsea efforts to curb the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico after the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig tragically exploded last month.

A containment dome that was deployed last week has now been parked away from the spill area on the sea bed, after efforts to place it over the main leak point were suspended at the weekend as a build up of hydrates prevented a successful placement of the dome.

A second, smaller containment dome is now being readied to lower over the point of the main leak. The small dome will be connected by drill pipe and riser lines to a drill ship on the surface to collect and treat the oil. It is designed to mitigate the formation of large volumes of hydrates which hampered the earlier containment effort.

Work on a relief well, which began on Sunday May 2, continues. It is expected to take some three months to complete.

Meanwhile, more than 275 vessels are being used to collect and disperse the oil that has reached the surface of the sea, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.

So far, the cost of the operation is estimated at around $350m.