By Oliver Hall
Desperate BP officials are considering plugging the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico with golf balls and tyres.
Engineers are examining whether they can close a failed blowout preventer by cramming it with rubbish, including shredded tyres, according to Admiral Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard.
The 48-foot-tall, 450-tonne device sits on top of the well at the heart of the Gulf oil spill and is designed to stop leaks, but it has not been working properly since the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank last month.
Admiral Allen told CBX’s Face the Nation programme: “The next tactic is going to be something they call a junk shot.”
“They’ll take a bunch of debris — shredded up tyres, golf balls and things like that – and under very high pressure, shoot it into the preventer itself and see if they can clog it up and stop the leak.”
BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said the so-called “junk shot” of debris was one option after previous attempts to stem the flow failed.
BP has confirmed that the huge oil spill, which is threatening a massive environmental disaster along US coasts, has so far cost the company $350 million.