Video: BP hits another snag in effort to slow oil flow

  1. Closed captioning of: BP hits another snag in effort to slow oil flow

    >>> good evening. the list of fixes that have so far failed to stop that disastrous oil spill in the gulf keeps getting longer. first, the blowout preventer didn't work. then they tried a giant dome over the leak and now bp is trying to insert a skinny mile-long tube into a pipe to suck the oil out like a straw. but, again, more than three weeks after the explosion, yet another setback. we begin with nbc 's mark potter in venice, louisiana . mark, good evening.

    >> reporter: and good evening to you, mika . the oil below the surface is still flowing despite attempts last night and today to stop it. engineers are trying three different methods to seal that leak. while bad weather halted efforts to skim oil from the surface of the gulf of mexico , there was also a setback nearly a mile below. engineers are trying to stop the massive flow of oil from a broken pipe by inserting another pipe inside. first to suggest the initial attempt failed, though, was interior secretary ken salazar , touring a wildlife rescue facility in ft. jackson, louisiana .

    >> they have had to reconfigure it, but they're back down again with the riser insertion tube trying to get it inserted into the end of the riser pipe. they are hopeful that they will be able to make some progress on that today.

    >> reporter: the procedure being tried now involves inserting a nearly mile-long tube which would siphon oil to a ship into the spewing pipe near the damaged well. but the pipe connection didn't work.

    >> when they attempted to connect to it, the frame shifted so they were unable to make that connection. so what they had to do was bring the frame and the tool back to the surface, and reorient the frame.

    >> reporter: if other attempts fail, engineers say they'll then use a so-called top hat , much like an inverted funnel to try to collect the oil. next week they're also planning a junk shot, also known as a bridging agent, into the oil well blowout preventer . this would involve jamming it with rubber, plastic, copper, perhaps even golf balls , followed by a layer of mud, in the hopes of sealing the leak. if successful, it would then be encased in concrete. it has been done before, but never at 5,000 feet. shrimper roland hingle says he hopes the attempts to seal the leak succeed before his business grinds to a halt.

    >> gets slower and slower. can't get no slower. we at a snail's pace right now.

    >> reporter: today, the coast guard tried to calm the public, offering assurances it knows where all the runaway oil is located.

    >> we have a pretty good handle on the oil we're dealing with. we have a very good handle on the oil we're dealing with, both at the source through the water column and on the surface.

    >> reporter: the coast guard says it is using dispersants to break apart the oil again and bp says it will try connecting the siphoning tube again today and we should know soon if it worked. mika ?

    >> nbc 's mark potter , thank you.

    >>> now to the white house

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