By Denna Bowman
BP have suffered a crushing blow in their attempts to stop the oil leaking from a damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil company was forced to admit that its latest operation, the “Junk Shot’, which involved firing shredded tyres, golf balls and strips of rope at high pressure into the well in an attempt to block the leak, had failed.
US President Barack Obama said that he was heartbroken at the setback.
The spill started over a month ago when the Deepwater Horizon rig caught fire and exploded, killing 11 workers. Over forty days on and BP have still to stop the leak. One option that is known to work is to drill relief wells, however the oil company admitted that this will take two months.
BP has spent more than £600m trying to stem the estimated 5,000 barrels of oil per day flowing out from the wellhead.
Previous failed attempts have included a coffer dam, a tube to suck the oil up to the surface and top kill.
BP will next try to cap the well using an underwater robot that will try to cut the leaking pipe and place a cap over it.
Meanwhile, President Obama’s increasing anger and frustration at the failure to control the problem is starting to affect other oil companies operating offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
President Obama extended a deep-water drilling ban in the region by six months, with work on a total of 33 drilling rigs set to be halted until the oil firms concerned demonstrate that a similar disaster could not happen again.