Twenty-six days after the BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent collapse, which has resulted in the leakage of millions of gallons of oil into the ocean and an untold amount of environmental damage, the latest effort to contain the leak is now collecting "some amounts of oil and gas." A tube, nearly a mile long, was inserted into the leaking pipe and oil pumped to a drill ship on the surface. There's no telling what percentage of the oil is being contained by the method, and how much continues to spill into the Gulf.This latest effort comes after previous attempts, like lowering a concrete dome over the leak, had failed. Earlier in the weekend, a similar attempt to insert a tube into the leak was unsuccessful. But now, according a report from the AP, the most recent attempt to place the tube worked, and now at least some of the oil is being contained--though the problem is still far from resolved.
According to a statement from BP:
While not collecting all of the leaking oil, this tool is an important step in reducing the amount of oil being released into Gulf waters.
Meanwhile, efforts to help ease the impact of the leaked oil on the environment continue throughout the Gulf and on shore. Coastal communities are reeling from the disaster which strikes at the heart of local fishing industries as the extent of the oil leak's impact on wildlife is beginning to take its toll.
Adding to the grim picture, recent estimates of how much oil was being leaked into the Gulf were reassessed, from 5 thousand barrels a day to potentially 70 thousand.
This latest effort to capture the leaking oil, while not a real fix, is an encouraging sign that at least some of the oil can be captured until a more permanent solution is discovered. Until then, the problems related to the leak continue to surmount, as the full extent of the disaster remains to be seen.
Update: According to a report from Reuters, BP's head of operations, Doug Suttle, the siphon tube inserted into the broken pipe is only collecting 20 percent of the leaking oil, which amounts to at least 1000 barrels of oil a day. Speaking with NBC's "Today" show, Shuttle said the operation is set to continue in hopes of capturing more of the leaking oil. "We'll be ramping this thing up over the next 24 hours," he said. "We can actually get 5,000 barrels a day up that pipe if we can capture it and keep the water out."