10 May 2010

Fears grow as latest effort to plug oil leak fails

10:47 pm on 10 May 2010

The failure of BP's latest effort to stem a leaking undersea oil well has increased fears of a prolonged and growing environmental and economic disaster in the Gulf Of Mexico.

The company is exploring several new options to control the three-week spill after a problems with a huge containment dome on Saturday which took three weeks to build.

A build-up of crystallized gas in the iron dome forced engineers to delay efforts to place it over the rupture and funnel leaking oil to waiting ships, Reuters reports.

The spill is expected to drift farther west, away from Florida's popular beaches but into important shipping channels and rich seafood areas off the central Louisiana coast, west of the Mississippi Delta.

Up to 1 million litres of oil a day has been gushing unchecked into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on 20 April, rupturing the well and killing 11 crew members.