WRAPUP 1-Under pressure, BP tries again to contain oil spill

* BP expects latest fix to be operational overnight

* Obama officials demand accountability from company

* Scientists discover oil plumes in Gulf – report

By Steve Gorman

GALLIANO, La., May 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Energy giant BP made a
new attempt to siphon gushing oil from an offshore well as
political pressure and public outrage increased over the
company’s slow progress at stopping environmental disaster.

London-based BP Plc (BP.L: ) admitted on Saturday that its
latest attempt to contain the spill had failed but a top
executive expressed optimism that the tricky undersea effort to
redirect the flow of oil would be operational overnight.

The latest fix involves guiding undersea robots to insert a
small tube into a 21-inch (53-cm) pipe, known as a riser, to
funnel the oil to a ship at the surface.

Crude oil is gushing unchecked into the sea from a
blown-out offshore well a mile (1.6 km) deep on the floor of
the Gulf of Mexico, threatening an ecological and economic
calamity along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Officials said that so far the spill has had minimal impact
on the shoreline and wildlife, but oil debris and tar has begun
to wash up on barrier islands and outlying beaches of
Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

Scientists and residents of the Gulf Coast say a far
greater concern is the anticipated encroachment of oil into the
environmentally fragile bayous and marshes teeming with shrimp,
oysters, crabs, fish, birds and other wildlife.

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Workers in Louisiana expressed outrage at comments by BP
Chief Executive Tony Hayward suggesting that the size of the
spill was “tiny” compared to the size of the Gulf of Mexico.

“I think he’s nuts,” said Kenneth Theriot, 56, a shrimp
boat owner and captain in the Louisiana town of Chauvin. “I
don’t care how big the Gulf is. It’s all coming here.”

Shrimpers and fishermen have been idled by commercial
fishing closures imposed because of the spill.

Hayward’s comments were published in Britain’s Guardian
newspaper.

BP’s initial attempt to insert the tube into the riser ran
into trouble when the metal frame that supports the siphon
shifted, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles told reporters
in Robert, Louisiana on Saturday. [ID:nN15212364]

Suttles said BP hoped to get the siphoning tube inserted
late on Saturday and operational overnight.

A BP spokesman did not respond to inquiries late on
Saturday about progress on the latest attempt.

The spill began after an April 20 explosion on the
Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers. It threatens to
eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska as the worst
U.S. ecological disaster ever.

OIL PLUMES

A New York Times report on Saturday said scientists had
found huge oil plumes in the Gulf, including one as large as 10
miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick.

It said the discovery provided evidence that the leak could
be “substantially worse” than estimates given previously by the
government and BP.

BP is facing growing political pressure to prove it will
pay for all of the costs related to the spill.

“The public has a right to a clear understanding of BP’s
commitment to redress all of the damage that has occurred or
that will occur in the future as a result of the oil spill,”
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Homeland Security Secretary
Janet Napolitano said in a letter to Hayward. [ID:nN15228597]

Concerns have been raised about current U.S. law that
limits to $75 million energy companies’ liability for lost
business and local tax revenues from oil spills.

Randy Arceneaux, 28, a fisherman and deckhand in the Cajun
village of Cocodrie, deep in Lousiana bayou country, said he
was despondent about more than his lost income.

“The food that actually goes on my table came from these
waters,” Arceneaux told Reuters. “People are talking about the
money they’re losing. It’s not just the money. It’s the food,
it’s your livelihood. It’s what you were taught, it’s what you
were raised on, and we’d like to pass it on to our kids.”

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(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, editing by Jackie Frank)

WRAPUP 1-Under pressure, BP tries again to contain oil spill