Is permanent containment a possibility? The New York Times reports that government officials and BP are discussing long-term containment plans in the unlikely-but-possible case that the relief well, currently slated for completion in early August, fails. Once the relief well is drilled, BP will pump heavy mud through it into the leaking well; however, the process could be hindered if the original well bore was damaged. Meanwhile, the short-term oil-relief effort is also facing setbacks: Tropical Storm Alex will steer clear of the oil-leak site, but will still delay plans to deliver a third containment vessel by about a week. That vessel, when delivered, will raise BP’s collection capacity from 28,000 barrels of oil a day to 53,000. Between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels of oil are spilling into the Gulf each day.
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