BP Kills Off “Top Kill”

Energy giant BP Plc is pulling the plug on its so-called “top kill” operation to stop oil from gushing out of a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, saying the effort has failed to achieve the results it wanted. “Top kill” was initially touted as the best way to plug the hole left by a blast that destroyed the well 40 days ago.

The company will now resort to another maneuver that it hopes will be able to prevent what is already the largest oil spill in U.S. history from worsening. BP chief executive Tony Howard said the company’s next step is to capture as much oil on the sea floor and bring it the surface for collection. Howard said it would take up to four days to set up the “lower marine riser package.”

The oil spill, which started when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, is already beginning to take its toll on the Gulf coast environment, with several bird species being found dead along the seashores. The oil spill is also threatening the area’s lucrative fishing industry. The failure of “top kill” is especially devastating to coast residents, who are still trying to recover from the devastation of Katrina.