Washington: The chief executive of British energy giant BP Plc said he expects to decide later on Wednesday whether to proceed with a “top kill” procedure to try to contain leaking oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Later this morning (Wednesday) I will review that with the team, and I will take a final decision as to whether or not we should proceed,” BP CEO Tony Hayward told the NBC “Today” show.
If he determines it is safe to proceed, the procedure is expected to happen on Wednesday, he said. He added it will take a day or two to determine whether the procedure worked.
In its attempt to plug the leak, BP plans to use undersea robots to try to inject heavy fluids and then cement into the seabed well to block oil flow in the “top kill” operation.
If it fails, Hayward said the next step would be to use a containment device that would be sealed on top and would be deployed in three or four days after the “top kill” attempt.
So far, the company’s attempts to plug the massive leak have been dogged by delays and failures, and government and public frustration with the company has risen. Residents of the US Gulf coast region are particularly concerned about the impact of spreading oil on wildlife and area shorelines.
Hayward has been criticized for his earlier comments that the environmental impact of the spill would be modest.
“We have let people down in our defence of the shore, and we are going to redouble our efforts,” he told NBC, saying a visit to a nearby beach on Tuesday left him “devastated.”