Now, BP hopes to saw through a pipe leading out from the well and cap it with a funnel-like device using the same remotely guided undersea robots that have failed in other tries to stop the gusher. Even that effort won't end the disaster — BP officials have only pledged it will capture a majority of the oil. None of the remaining options would stop the flow entirely or capture all the crude before it reaches the Gulf's waters.
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Engineers will use remotely guided undersea robots to try to lower a cap onto the leak after cutting off part of a busted pipe leading out from the well. The funnel-like device is similar to a huge containment box that failed before when it became clogged with icelike slush. Dudley said officials learned a lot from that failure and will pump warm water through the pipes to prevent the ice problems.
The spill is the worst in U.S. history — exceeding even the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster — and has dumped between 18 million and 40 million gallons into the Gulf, according to government estimates. The leak began after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in April, killing 11 people.