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Attempts to stem oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico fail

BPs attempts to lower a 98 tonne funnel to the seabed off the Louisiana coastline failed at the weekend, after a build up gas hydrates blocked the exit at the top of the funnel. The funnel had been specially manufactured by BP, to try to stop the flow of thousands of gallons of oil that is leaking every day into the sea from a blown out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Engineers are now looking at another possible solution to stem the leak or make modifications to the current spill containment design. Meanwhile, huge numbers of absorbents have been laid along the coastline of Dauphin Island to try to save the resort area from an environmental disaster. Ships have also been laying inflatable booms on the surface of the sea around the spill over the last couple of weeks in an effort to contain the spill.

It is estimated that about 3.5 million gallons of oil has leaked from the blown out well since the accident two weeks ago and an area of about 2,000 square miles is now affected.

The next two solutions being looked at to stop the leak include using a smaller funnel that would contain less water, so theoretically the ice like gas hydrates would not be able to accumulate. Or to use a “junk shot” of materials including rubber that would be dropped over the leak source.

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