US sees months for 'ultimate solution' to address oil spill

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Sunday said it could be 90 days before a relief well is completed to address the Gulf oil spill.

US sees months for 'ultimate solution' to address oil spill

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Sunday said it could be 90 days before a relief well is completed to address the Gulf oil spill.

"You're looking at potentially 90 days before you ultimately get to what is the ultimate solution here and that's a relief well," Salazar said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The U.S. government will keep a "boot on the neck" of BP Plc, as it responds to a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that threatens to become an economic and ecological catastrophe, Salazar said.

"Our job basically is to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum to carry out the responsibilities they have both under the law and contractually to move forward and stop this spill," Salazar also told CNN's "State of the Union" program.

He said there was no doubt that a mechanism that prevents oil from blowing out of the BP well was defective, adding that 100,000 barrels or more of oil could leak per day in a worst case scenario.

Salazar said the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from a destroyed rig "potentially is catastrophic."

Salazar told CNN's "State of the Union" program, "I think we have to prepare for the worst."

He said later in the program that "It is indeed a massive oil spill."

Salazar said there was a failure in the technology that is intended to prevent a so-called blowout.

"There is no doubt at all here that what has happened is the blowout prevention mechanism at the bottom of the well ... is defective," Salazar said. "While there have been blowouts in the past, we have never seen anything that has been quite of this magnitude."

The Obama administration has ordered inspections of "blowout preventers" on other Gulf rigs, Salazar said. He noted that BP, which operated the destroyed rig, is legally responsible for the spill and any resulting damage.

"So our job is to keep the boot on the neck of" BP to ensure it meets its obligations, Salazar said.

President Obama is expected to visit the area of an oil spill near the Louisiana coast Sunday, as Gulf Coast residents brace for the arrival of a massive oil slick creeping toward shore.

"Continued leaking"

A giant oil slick off the shore of Louisiana is likely to hit the Gulf Coast shoreline "at some point," and continued leaking of the undersea well owned by BP Plc will cause major problems, the U.S. Coast Guard chief said on Saturday.

"There's enough oil out there, it's logical to assume it will impact the shoreline," said Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen, on a conference call with reporters. "The question is where and when."

The oil slick has not yet affected vital shipping lanes leading to the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast ports like Pascagoula, Mississippi, but has the potential to do so, Allen said.

"Right now there is no significant impact from the oil on those (shipping) fairways," Allen said.

The rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd, sank on April 22, two days after it exploded and caught fire while finishing a well for BP Plc 42 miles (68 km) off the Louisiana coast.

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers on Friday summoned top executives from companies involved in the Gulf oil rig disaster to testify at a hearing examining the causes of the massive oil spill threatening the U.S. coastline.

A House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce subcommittee is seeking testimony from Lamar McKay of BP America, Inc, Steve Newman of Transocean Ltd and David Lesar of Halliburton Co.

In advance of the hearing, scheduled for May 12, the subcommittee is asking the companies to provide any documents relating to potential causes of the rig accident.

BP has been asked to also release any worker complaints concerning construction and engineering problems at the company's deepwater projects.


Agencies

Last Mod: 02 Mayıs 2010, 18:51
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