Money Matters - Simplified

BP's new plan might boomerang, worsen the oil spill

In New Orleans protesters gathered across the street from St. Louis Cathedral to express frustration over BP's cleanup efforts.

BP (BP.L) will make another attempt, albeit a dangerous one, on Monday or Tuesday to stem the oil from spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

The latest plan entails severing a leaking pipe to cap its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico. This effort could increase the flow of oil by as much as 20 percent though.

Hitherto efforts have focused on skimming and burning the surface oil, scattering it and setting up booms along the coast to soak up and block the foam.

No remedy till August
BP’s new effort would entail robots using a diamond saw to cut the leaking riser pipe and then installing a cap to let much of the oil to be pumped up to a ship on the surface.

"There may be a small increase. But we should not expect to see a large increase, if any, by cutting this off and making a clean surface for us to be able to put this containment vessel over it," White House energy advisor Carol Browner told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"We're now going to move into a situation where they're going to attempt to control the oil that's coming out, move it to a vessel, take it onshore," said Browner.

The sad reality is that the oil behemoth, by its own admission, has no other alternative to stop up the ruptured well until August.

As things stand the disaster is being seen as one of the worst in the history of the nation. The closure of the well seems a distant reality as of now.

"We're now going to move into a situation where they're going to attempt to control the oil that's coming out, move it to a vessel, take it onshore," said Browner.

"Obviously that's not the preferred scenario. We always knew that the relief well was the permanent way to close this.… Now we move to the third option, which is to contain it," added Browner.

Obama administration blamed
While locals, whose livelihoods have been jeopardized due to the current oil spill, have been urging BP to do more and save the fisheries from falling prey to it. Many sections of the society have started blaming the government for its slow response.

"I hold Obama responsible for not making BP stand up and look at the people in the face and fix it," said Dean Blanchard, owner of a seafood business, at a protest rally.

"It's not right what is going on, I didn't do nothing wrong, I didn't deserve this," he rued.