Money Matters - Simplified

Fate of millions hinges on successful cap placement

BP underwater robots steadily assembled heavy metal pieces as the drilling major readies to install a cap on the busted well. The operation, if successful, could be the most significant progress towards containing the gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well.

All hopes of stemming the spewing oil and controlling the resultant damage hinge on BP’s latest endeavor to install a new cap on the busted well.

If the exercise, which is expected to last another six days is successfully, the embattled drilling major would be in a position to contain all of the leaking oil.

The company has however warned that there is no guarantee of success given the fact that the new cap has to fit on a 7-inch hole under a mile of water and more than two miles of rock.

Hero in the making
John Wright would be the cynosure of all eyes in the coming week for he is the lead engineer who has to hit bull's-eye.

The 56-year-old, who would head BP's well intersection team, is considered the world's greatest oil well assassin.

Wright probably faces the most daunting assignment of his career: traversing the Macondo and swiftly inundating it with mud and cement to end the gush of oil.

"If there is anxiety, it is created by the expectation you have to do it on the first try and the whole world knowing about it," Wright, who knows that scores of people whose livelihoods are affected by the oil slick are praying for his success, said.

"If you make it, you're a hero. If you miss, I would expect it to be like missing the winning field goal in the Super Bowl. Either way, it will be something you will play over and over the rest of your life," Wright said.

"I got an e-mail this morning telling me that I will be personally responsible for the next move up in the stock market if the intersection and kill is successful on the first try. Las Vegas will be booking odds next," disclosed Wright.

Widespread damage done
Oil had started leaking into the Gulf of Mexico after a blast in the Deepwater Horizon on April 20. The oil giant had last month announced that a permanent solution would be in place only by mid-August.

If the current operation is successful, BP would be ahead of schedule on that front. However as things stand on the 83rd day, the incident has wrecked havoc in terms of environmental damage and economic disaster.

Close to 81,000 square miles of federal waters in the Gulf have been shut down to fishing since the beginning of the disaster.

All this while, the British behemoth had made umpteen efforts to stem the rot. The oil company has taken the onus of all financial implications resulting from the spill.