The original dome, a 100-ton 40 foot wide concrete and steel structure, could not be dropped on the oil leak due to a ‘build of hydrates’ according to BP.

The oil leak began on April 22 when an explosion sunk a rig with the loss of 11 crew members.

The small dome will be connected by drill pipe and riser lines to a drill ship on the surface to collect and treat oil.

It is designed to stop the build up of large hydrate volumes, however this operation has never been done before in 5,000 feet of water.

A spokesman said: “BP continues to do everything it can, in conjunction with governmental authorities and other industry experts, to find a solution to stem the flow of oil on the seabed.

“Work on the first relief well, which began on Sunday May 2, continues. It is expected to take some three months to complete.”

He added that more than 275 vessels are being used, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.

The volume of dispersant applied to the spill on the surface amounts to over 315,000 gallons since the spill response began.

Intensive operations to skim oil from the surface of the water also continued. Some 90,000 barrels of oily liquid has now been recovered.

Luke Walsh

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