BP says 'top kill' could take all weekend
Warning that "ultimate success is uncertain," BP said Friday that it could take all weekend to complete its "top kill" technique aimed at plugging the catastrophic leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil giant issued the statement in Houston hours ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to the oil-stricken region.
The president's trip was his second to the gulf region since the April 20 oil rig accident triggered the worst spill in U.S. history. New government figures released Thursday estimated the leak had so far spewed 18.6 million to 29 million gallons into the Gulf.
Thursday, he cautioned that there were no guarantees of success for the top kill technique in a White House news conference entirely devoted to the matter in which he said, "I take responsibility" for its handling.
BP was guarded in its Friday morning statement, which reported: "Operations on the top kill procedure continue. It is estimated that the full top kill procedure could extend for another 24 to 48 hours. If the well were successfully 'killed,' it is expected that cementing operations would then follow."
The top kill procedure has never before been attempted at these depths. BP noted that should it fail, engineers were preparing an alternative plan.