Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

BP 'Top Kill' Live Feed Makes Stars out of Disaster Bots

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

BP 'Top Kill' Live Feed Makes Stars out of Disaster Bots

Article excerpt

The strange glimpse into the Gulf's depths given by the 'geyser cam' - the BP live feed of the 'top kill' attempt - has mesmerized millions, but has raised concerns about stock market impact.

The BP live video feed of the oil giant's attempt to squash the runaway Deepwater Horizon well with a "top kill" maneuver using mud and golf balls has become an Internet smash. Over one million people have viewed the video embedded in the PBS website, and at least 3,000 websites are using the feed. The glimpse into the deep has proved mesmerizing, a first-hand look at a "historic moment," as Indianapolis web designer Jeb Banner told the Associated Press. But it also became clear Friday why BP originally wanted to stop the live feed during the top kill procedure, a move that was rebuffed by the White House. In a note to reporters, a BP spokesman noted that information on the "top kill" effort is now deemed "stock market sensitive." So far, scientists viewing the video are mixed on the effect of the gambit. BP's stock price sank 5 percent overnight. BP said Friday it has twice since Wednesday turned off the spigot of heavy mud into the failed blow-out preventer at the wellhead to measure pressures and recalibrate the effort. Scientists say those moves could explain the changing shade of the plume. BP executives say it could be Sunday before they have any indication of success or failure. (In related news, BP on Friday halted the deployment of a second relief well operation in order to focus on their next plan - placing an operable blow-out preventer on top of the one that failed on April 20 when the Deepwater rig first exploded.) The BP live top kill feed shows alternate shots of the scene at 5,000 feet at the site where the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank on April 22. With perhaps as much as 20 million gallons of oil already escaped, sludgy waves and tar balls are already hitting Louisiana marshlands and beaches. …

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