Giant Containment Dome Arrives on Site of Oil Spill -- But Will it Work? Even BP Exec is Skeptical

BP oil spill containment dome photo

Photo: AP Photo/Eric Gay
It looks more like a box than a dome, though...
The approximately 100-ton box made of steel and concrete is about as high as a four-story building. It arrived on the site of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico today, and crew will try to lower it 5,000 feet down over one of the leaks in the hope that it will contain the oil and allow them to siphon it into ships.
bp oi spill metal containment dome ship photo

Photo: AP Photo/Eric Gay

This is far from being a sure thing. Even BP executive Tony Hayward told the New York Times that he was "skeptical" about the containment dome, and that it might not work. After all, it's the first time that this is being tried at these kinds of depths.

So what could go wrong? A lot.

Despite the hopes placed on the big box, questions remain: Can it withstand the conditions nearly a mile beneath the sea? Will ice plug up the pipe? Will bad weather interrupt the work? Will the combination of gas, oil and water mix uneasily -- or explosively -- on the ship above? (source)

But if everything works according to plan, it is estimated that this system could collect about 85% of the leaking oil. This would buy some time while a relief well is being drilled and a more permanent solution is being put into place.

See also: What's the Gulf Loop Current and How Could it Spread the BP Oil Spill to Florida and Beyond?
More on the BP Oil Spill
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The What, When and Where [UPDATED]
BP Says 1 of 3 Oil Leaks Is Plugged, 100-Ton Metal Containment Dome Going Down Tomorrow
Rush Limbaugh on the BP Oil Spill: "It's as natural as the ocean water is."
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