Oil floats on the surface of the water Wednesday around the Transocean Development Driller II at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In BP’s latest attempt at putting a lid on its disastrous oil spill, the embattled company pulled out a pair of giant shears Thursday to cut through a damaged pipe in preparation for—(drum roll) a containment cap—as a skeptical global audience looked on.
The move came after a diamond-tipped saw failed to cut through after becoming stuck in the pipe, in another frustrating delay in the six weeks since the wellhead rupture in the Gulf of Mexico.
A containment cap will be lowered and sealed over the wellhead in next few hours, said Thad Allen the head of the US coast guard. He added that it will not be known how much oil BP can siphon to a tanker on the surface until the cap is fitted. But the irregular cut on the pipe means it will not fit as tightly as officials had hoped.
“We’ll have to see when we get the containment cap on it just how effective it is,” Allen said. “It will be a test and adapt phase as we move ahead, but it’s a significant step forward.”
Even if it works, BP engineers expect oil to continue leaking into the sea.