The Coast Guard is considering a controlled burn to consume some of the oil–a sheen in the Gulf of Mexico that’s grown to about 48 miles long and 80 miles wide. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry says the controlled burn would be inside a special fire boom, and it’s something that’s been utilized in the past.
“This is something we are considering using in this constantly changing and dynamic environment. And a controlled burn off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, in 1993, removed 50 to 99 percent of the oil collected in this fire boom. This method can be greatly beneficial, and is one of several tools that may be employed individually or in combination to minimize consequences of the spill.”
Meanwhile, BP says crews could begin drilling later this week to try and take the pressure off the well. BP says it could take from two weeks to three months to drill a relief well from another rig recently brought to the site where the Deepwater Horizon sank after the blast, but equipment is being put in place, as Doug Suttles with BP explains.
“We will start the new well approximately one-half a mile from the current well site. We will drill three-and-a-half miles below the surface of the ocean approximately 18,000 feet and we will intersect the seven-inch wellbore. This technology is complex, but we are capable of doing it using the latest skills of the industry and our abilities. Once we’ve intercepted the well, we will then inject heavy fluids, followed by cement, to permanently secure this well and insure that it can no longer flow to the surface.”
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar say they will devote every available resource to a comprehensive investigation of the explosion.