UPDATE: BP Pauses Effort to Stop Gulf Oil Leak
ROBERT, La. (AP) - BP says it stopped force-feeding drilling mud into its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico around midnight, but will resume the procedure tonight.
It says the operation, known as a "top kill," was stopped to allow engineers to assess the effort and so that crews could bring in more drilling mud. BP insists the top kill is progressing as planned, though it acknowledges that drilling mud is escaping from the broken pipe along with leaking crude.
If the procedure works, and that won't be known before tomorrow at the earliest, BP will inject cement into the well to seal it permanently. If top kill doesn't work, BP says it has a number of backup plans. Either way, crews will continue to drill two relief wells. That's considered the only surefire way to stop the leak.
In Washington, two teams of scientists calculate the well has been spewing between 504,000 and more than a million gallons a day, easily eclipsing the Exxon Valdez as the biggest oil spill in U.S.
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