Oil containment dome for Gulf of Mexico oil spill hits snag: report

08:25, May 10, 2010      

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Boats are seen clearing up the leaked oil, which was caused by an explosion of a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, on May 5, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters photo)

BP's plan to contain the Gulf of Mexico oil leak with a big metal box was fraught with unknowns and potential problems, it was reported on Sunday.

Gas hydrates -- slushy crystal formations of natural gas and water that form under pressure -- had plugged the opening at the top of the box that is supposed to funnel the oil geyser into pipes connected to a ship, the Los Angeles Times said, quoting BP officials.

"I wouldn't say it's failed yet. But what we attempted to do last night didn't work," said Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer.

BP had spent Friday lowering the specially built containment dome, which resembles a squat, four-story building, from a ship to the gulf floor nearly a mile (1.6 kilometer) below. It succeeded in placing the device over the main leak, a crumpled riser pipe that broke during the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion April 20.

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