BP has attached a four-inch diameter pipe and began injecting methanol to mitigate against the formation of gas hydrates.

However, environmentalists in the US have raised concerns about whether this process is simply replacing one source of pollution with another.

The work, undertaken by BP, comes about a month after an accident sank an oil well killing 11 people.

President Barack Obama has described the accident as ‘unprecedented’ and demanded action from BP.

The company said this morning (May 17) that subsea efforts continue to focus on stopping the flow of oil from the well.

A spokesman said: “The riser insertion tube tool (RITT) containment system was put into place in the end of the leaking riser on May 16.

“Produced oil is being stored on the drillship while produced gas is being flared.

“This remains a new technology and both its continued operation and its effectiveness in capturing the oil and gas remains uncertain, other containment options continue to be progressed.

“BP also continues to develop options to shut off the flow of oil from the well through interventions”.

Plans continue to be developed for a so called ‘top kill’ operation where heavy drilling fluids are injected into the well to stem the flow of oil and gas, followed by cement to seal the well.

Luke Walsh

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