7:24 p.m. EST
VENICE, Louisiana (Reuters) – Energy giant BP Plc indicated some progress on Monday toward capping the underwater well that ruptured in the Gulf of Mexico almost two weeks ago, pushing a giant oil slick toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The swelling slick, now estimated to be at least 130 miles by 70 miles, or about the size of the state of Delaware, threatens shipping, wildlife, beaches and one of the United States' most fertile fishing grounds.
"This spill, it can fundamentally change our way of life here," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said.
BP, the British energy company, has been working to plug a leak nearly a mile under the surface of the ocean, under heavy pressure from the U.S. government to try to limit a looming ecological and economic disaster.
Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, and Lamar McKay, BP America president, met on Monday with top Obama administration officials including the energy, interior and homeland security secretaries and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to discuss coordinated response efforts.
Separately, BP said crews in Louisiana have finished building the first of three massive steel and concrete containment domes the company plans to lower in place over one of the three leaks on the ocean floor.
"We will load that on a ship tomorrow along with other associated equipment, and transport it to the site," Doug Suttles, chief operating officer of BP's exploration and production unit, told reporters on a conference call.
Drilling also started Sunday night on a relief well that could cap the oil spill on the Gulf floor, the company said. Still, this operation is expected to take two to three months to complete.
THREATENS FOUR STATES
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that the oil slick, which continues to spread over a wider surface area in the warm Gulf waters, will move further east and west by Tuesday, although not necessarily further north toward the coast.
Efforts to prevent the slow-moving mass from washing ashore in parts of four states have been hampered for days by choppy seas and high waves in the Gulf, but forecasts suggest calmer conditions in the next few days.
"The stormy weather is clearing as we speak," Shawn O'Neil, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in New Orleans, said. "The winds will stay light and variable all the way through Friday. They will have much improved conditions to do what they need to get done."
Miles of booms are being laid along the coast of four states in an effort to contain the movement of oil onto beaches and into key wildlife sanctuaries and breeding grounds.
only think that could stop this is a winter so cold that the whole gulf freezes:P.And than cut out the icecubes that contain oil.
all i want too say.
BP destroyed all live there for years too come.
I don't see $60 anytime soon. Before this all happened, the stock hit around $60 and it will take a while for the fallout from this incident to be overcome. But I think we've hit bottom and I can see a price rise tomorrow as the actions BP has taken to control the spill at the source kick in. Remember, for all the hype and hoopla (although some sea turtles have been affected), the oil has yet to reach the shoreline and news tonight is that the size of the sheen has diminished. Speculation is that dispersants applied at the site are working very well. Nalco, which makes the stuff, saw its stock price jump almost 6% today, proof of the effectiveness of its product.
This morning they were virtually giving away options on the stock. I bought some June $60 calls. We'll see if this was a good bet.