BP Oil Spill Top Kill Plug Underway

BP gives their ‘top kill’ effort to plug the gushing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a 60%-70% chance of success. The well, now polluting the Gulf, will be fed mud and then concrete to cap off the spill.

Still frame from live video feed

BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said the company will pump mud for hours, and officials have indicated it may be a couple of days before they know whether the procedure is working. The top kill involves pumping enough mud into the gusher to overcome the flow of oil, and engineers plan to follow it up with cement to try to permanently seal the well…

A live video stream showed pictures of the oil gushing and the blowout preventer, the five-story device the mud was being pumped into. A weak spot in the device could blow under the pressure, causing a brand new leak.

Gene Beck, a petroleum engineering professor at Texas A&M in College Station, said the endeavor would likely fail quickly if the mud could not overcome the pressure of the oil. 

The ‘top kill’ has never been tried at the depth of 5,000 feet (1500 metres) underwater. The mud, classified as “heavy drilling mud, is fed into a” five-story device” (perhaps the blowout preventer). At 6:00 p.m. EST, Fox News is reporting the attempt has been underway for four hours.