"BATON ROUGE, La. — With remote-controlled robots a mile underwater unable to seal the gushing well, and with the drilling of relief wells that would allow crews to plug the spouting cavity months away from completion, it is time for the big box.
The end of the oil spill, or at least the end of much of the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, may soon be delivered by a 98-ton steel box standing four stories tall, with a fresh coat of white paint.
The containment dome, as engineers are calling the structure, was built over the past week by a crew of more than two dozen welders working around the clock at a shipyard in Port Fourchon, La. On Wednesday, the dome began its journey to the site of the ruptured well, where it will be lowered by cable 5,000 feet beneath the sea to sit atop the larger of the two remaining leaks.
The dome will not shut off the gushing well, which is still spilling an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil a day; the goal is just to keep some of the oil out of the water by capturing it and then funneling it to a drill ship, called the Discoverer Enterprise, waiting on the surface."
Sam Dolnick and Henry Fountain report for the New York Times May 5, 2010.
"Containment Domes Could Start Capturing Oil From Gulf Spill on Monday" (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
"BP Caps one of Three Oil Leaks in Gulf" (Washington Post)
"BP Rushes Oil Containment Dome to Broken Wellhead" (ENS)