BP pauses effort to stop Gulf oil leak, says it is monitoring unprecedented top kill attempt

By Greg Bluestein, AP
Friday, May 28, 2010

BP pauses effort to stop Gulf oil leak

ROBERT, La. — BP is pausing its unprecedented attempt to plug the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, saying it wants to monitor the affects of the top kill attempt.

BP said Thursday that nothing was going wrong with the procedure that which involves force-feeding mud into the blown-out well in an attempt to overcome the oil flowing upward.

BP says it hopes to resume shooting mud into the well Thursday night. Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles says he is not surprised that it is taking longer than expected.

The top kill has never been tried at 5,000 feet underwater.

New government estimates show the Gulf disaster has easily eclipsed the Exxon Valdez as the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Highlights of President Barack Obama’s news conference Thursday:


The president acknowledged some things he wished were done differently in relation to the Gulf spill:

—He said his administration didn’t act with “sufficient urgency” prior to the spill to clean up shop at the Minerals Management Service, accused of corruption and poor regulation of drilling rigs and wells.

—Obama defended calling for an expansion of offshore drilling prior to the spill, but “where I was wrong,” he said, was in believing that oil companies were prepared to respond to worst-case-scenario oil spills.

—Obama said the administration took too long to make its own measurements of the size of the spill, and didn’t push BP hard enough early on to release underwater footage that would have showed the spill was much larger than originally imagined.


Obama took pains to make that clear — it’s him, not BP, he repeatedly said — a stronger tone than previous administration statements. Said the president: “I take responsibility.”

—Even so Obama acknowledged the federal government’s limits. BP has the technology to try to plug the leak; the federal government doesn’t. The president lamented that and said a commission he’s appointed should look at whether the government could acquire it.

—Obama also pleaded ignorance about the circumstances of the resignation hours earlier of the head of the Minerals Management Agency, Elizabeth Birnbaum. Obama said he’d learned of it earlier in the day.


According to Obama, by visiting the Gulf Coast. Except for three beaches in Louisiana, Obama said, the beaches are open, safe and clean.

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