BP launches a relief plan to plug oil leak

BP launched its campaign to prevent one of the world’s worst environmental disasters yesterday by stepping up efforts to stop oil from further flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.

The British energy giant started drilling a relief well with hopes of intercepting and isolating the spillage. More than 200,000 gallons of oil have flowed into the sea every day since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded last month.

The new well will reach 5,000 feet under the sea and is expected to plug the leak from the existing well that is 13,000 feet below the seabed.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward said: “This is another key step in our work to permanently stop the loss of oil from the well.

“At the same time we are continuing with our efforts to stop the leak and control the oil at the seabed, to tackle the oil offshore, and to protect the shoreline through a massive effort together with government agencies and local communities.”

BP said earlier this week that it takes full responsibility for the incident and will swallow the costs of cleaning up the disaster, which it estimates at $6m (£3.95m) a day, and any claims connected to it.

The group’s shares closed 2.95 per cent down yesterday in the UK and have fallen by 17 per cent since the explosion on 20 April as investors continue to fret over the disaster.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would not allow oil drilling and exploration off of the state’s coast, as a result of the BP spill.

His statement marks a u-turn on an earlier decision he made to allow offshore oil drilling and exploration.

He said: “This will not happen in California.”