After nearly a month of hand-wringing, finger-pointing, and head-scratching over the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, British Petroleum is finally reporting something worth some back-slapping. A statement released by the company on Monday says oil siphoning efforts are working, and oil from the flow is reaching a drillship nearly a mile above the leak point.
Oil from the siphon feeds into BP’s Discoverer Enterprise, while residual gases are being burned off, company officials said. The progress comes after the second-attempt success of what the company dubs a Riser Insertion Tube Tool. The RITT was installed Sunday and has fed about 1,000 barrels of oil into the drillship, BP executive Doug Suttles told CNN, although not all of the oil from the leak is being captured.
Despite the current success of the approach, BP says the technology is untested, and they do not know how effective the tool will be in containing the spill in the long term. Other options for stopping the undersea gusher are also being considered.
Meanwhile, work on a relief well continues. Construction started on Friday and will take about three months to complete. Since the original April 20 well explosion, about 5,000 barrels of oil a day have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.