BP's launched its "top kill" plan on Wednesday to attempt to stop the
flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The plan calls for BP to pump heavy
drilling fluids into the top of the well. The strategy's effectiveness
and chance at success were hotly debated
plan was unveiled. But is it already working? Or is it too soon to tell?
Reports vary and information is still coming in, but here's what we
- Coast Guard Admiral Declares Success The Los
Angeles Times' Jim Tankersley reports, "Engineers have stopped the flow
of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico from a gushing BP well, the
federal government's top oil-spill commander, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad
Allen, said Thursday morning. The 'top kill' effort ... had pumped
enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well, Allen
said. The pressure from the well was very low, he said, but persisting.
Once engineers had reduced the well pressure to zero, they were to begin
pumping cement into the hole to entomb the well."
- Could Just Be Temporary Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall cautions, "BP is saying it looks good so
far but they're not willing to say for
sure that that's true. And even if it is it doesn't mean it will stay
that way. But it seems there are some reasons for optimism."
- White House and BP Urge Patience Reuters' Pascal Fletcher and
Chris Baltimore report, "The unified command tackling the oil spill
in the Gulf of Mexico cannot confirm or deny a Los Angeles Times report
that BP's 'top kill' operation to plug its leaking well has succeeded, a
spokeswoman said on Thursday. ... BP Managing Director Robert Dudley
said earlier on Thursday the procedure was 'moving the way we want it
to.' But he told NBC's 'Today Show' it was too early to say whether it
had been successful." For what it's worth, "BP shares rose more than
five percent in London trading."
- Chance of Success Increasing
The New York Times' Clifford Krauss and John Broder
write, "BP warned that success was not guaranteed and that it could
fail at any moment. But engineers and geologists following the effort
said the likelihood of success grew with each passing hour. Doug
Suttles, BP's chief operating officer for exploration and production,
said at a news conference Wednesday evening that it would be a day or
more before it was clear whether the top kill had worked. 'It's too
early to know if it's going to be successful,' Mr. Suttles said."
Still Rupture Again Fox News explains, "Additional leaks springing from the top kill solution were a
grave risk, said Anil Kulkarni, a mechanical engineering professor at
Penn State. 'One scenario is that it may make things worse,' Kulkarni
said. 'If it ruptures all over, then it would be even more difficult to
close it.' [BP Chief Operating Officer Doug] Suttles said BP had not
detected any new leaks as of Wednesday night."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.