Obama hopes publicity stunt will allay Gulf oil fears as BP suspends seal plans

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama and his family visited Florida’s Gulf coast this weekend as part of a drive to encourage tourism to the region blighted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Speaking before an afternoon dip with his daughter, Obama said his administration remains committed to ensuring a full clean-up is carried out.

“I’ll not be satisfied until the environment has been restored, no matter how long it takes,” Obama said in Panama City Beach, Florida.

“We’re going to continue to monitor and remove any oil that reaches the surface.”

Beaches all along the Gulf coast are clean and open for business and the seafood is safe, he added.

The trip came as BP’s attempts to permanently seal off the well that caused the devastating oil leak have suffered a setback.

Up to 1,000 barrels of oil are thought to remain trapped in the well and US officials fear new leaks may form when the company pumps in more mud and cement for the final plug.

BP has had to suspend work on the relief well and bottom-kill procedure until further tests are completed.

The firm is expected to finish its analysis tomorrow and says its driller rig is on standby to carry out the work.