US threatens to kick BP off spill clean-up

US OFFICIALS have warned they could remove BP from efforts to seal the well currently spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, if the oil giant doesn’t do enough to plug the leak.

Ken Salazar, the US interior secretary, said yesterday that the US government is becoming increasingly frustrated and angry that BP has missed “deadline after deadline” in its bid to seal the oil spill since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded last month.

“I am angry and I am frustrated that BP has been unable to stop this oil from leaking and to stop the pollution from spreading. We are 33 days into this effort and deadline after deadline has been missed,” said Salazar after visiting BP’s US headquarters in Houston.

“If we find they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ll push them out of the way appropriately,” he said.

Salazar’s comments follow a similar sentiment by President Barack Obama, who blamed the spill on “a break down of responsibility” at the oil giant.

The news comes as the chief of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, said yesterday that the government has to rely on BP and the oil industry to plug the leak.

Allen also insisted that he trusts BP chief executive Tony Hayward, who has recently made comments attempting to downplay the size of the disaster.

BP is understood to be capturing less oil than it was three days ago, when it was siphoning 2,200 barrels a day. It is understood that BP’s engineers are to launch the “top kill” phase of the clean-up which will attempt to plug the leak with more than one thousand barrels of mud.