OIL SPILL -- May 28, 2010 at 11:04 AM ET
Adm. Allen: Gulf Oil Leak Suppressed For Now; Leak Meter Paused
As of 8 AM today, we've frozen our Gulf Leak Meter, based on reports that the flow of oil is being held back.
"They have been able to push the hydrocarbons, or the oil, down with the mud," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America." The challenge ahead, Allen said, will be "to put enough into the well to keep the pressure where they can put a cement plug over the top."
Allen and BP CEO Tony Hayward cautioned that the next 48 hours will be critical while BP tries to put the final plug in place.
Hayward said the company used both the "top kill" and "junk shot" techniques to slow the flow of crude yesterday and last night. The junk shot, where pieces of tire, golf balls and other materials were pumped into the riser in an "attempt to create a bridging material," finished in early hours of this morning.
"It's going pretty well according to plan," Hayward told George Stephanopoulos.
"We're learning about the condition of the well and what it will take to permanently kill the well," the CEO added.
We're still trying to track down if oil has stopped coming out of the riser, and if so, exactly when. We'll adjust the ticker accordingly.
You can watch both GMA interviews below.
Update 1:45 p.m. | We spoke to BP's press office a few minutes ago. Spokesman John Pack said the brown substance seen coming out of the riser in the video is drilling mud, not oil.
Asked if he could tell us when the drilling mud was able to hold down the oil, he said, "Absolutely not." As far as BP is concerned, the top kill operation is still ongoing.
Update 4:30 p.m. | The New York Times reports that BP has suspended efforts to plug the leak. It's not clear if this means oil is again flowing out of the broken riser.
BP's renewed efforts at plugging the flow of oil from its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico stalled again on Friday, as the company suspended pumping operations for the second time in two days, according to a technician involved with the response effort.
In an operation known as a "junk shot," BP engineers poured pieces of rubber, golf balls and other materials into the crippled blowout preventer, trying to clog the device that sits atop the wellhead. The maneuver was designed to work in conjunction with the continuing "top kill" operation, in which heavy drilling liquids are pumped into the well to counteract the pressure of the gushing oil.
If the efforts succeeded, officials intended to pump cement into the well to seal it. But the company suspended pumping operations at 2:30 a.m. Friday after two junk shot attempts, said the technician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the efforts.
The suspension of the effort was not announced, and appeared to again contradict statements by company and government officials that suggested the top kill procedure was progressing Friday.
We're waiting to hear back from BP. For now, the ticker remains paused, but we may restart it if it appears oil is again flowing from the well.
U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says the oil flow is being overcome.
CEO Tony Hayward says "top kill" procedure is relieving oil pressure