Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BP oil leak setback: 'Top hat' removed, oil flow unhindered

McClatchy Newspapers
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WASHINGTON — Workers pulled the "top hat" collecting crude oil from BP's gushing Deepwater Horizon well Wednesday morning in a major setback to efforts to contain the leak.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration's point man on the BP oil leak, told reporters in his daily briefing that the long term impact of the decision was uncertain, but video from the leak showed crude gushing unhindered into the water for the first time since the "top hat" device, also referred to as the Lower Marine Riser Package, was set in place June 3.

It was unclear how soon the top hat might be put back in place, Allen said. He said he had only learned of the problem as he was headed to the Coast Guard headquarters briefing room in Washington.

The incident came a day after BP collected the most crude oil captured at the site -- more than 27,000 barrels, including 10,429 that were taken burned by the Q4000 drilling rig.

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