Gulf Disaster

BP's 'Top Kill' Going as Planned

Even with a cadre of experts and the whole nation's attention, BP's odds of plugging its oil leak are still at almost even money. BP's CEO was cautiously optimistic at a press conference Wednesday night, saying that the company's "top kill" method is "proceeding as planned" and placing its chances of success at 60 to 70 percent, though some experts estimate it to be lower. If the operation—which involves pumping heavy mud and cement down a drill pipe into the seabed—is a success, the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico will be significantly reduced. If it doesn't work, BP has lined up other approaches, including a plan to install a containment dome above the damaged pipe, which sits almost a mile beneath the surface of the Gulf. President Obama is planning to make a second trip to the Gulf on Friday, and he's amping up the pressure on BP to "plug the damn hole." If containment continues to elude BP, the administration may have to take a greater role in the effort, though Obama has so far expressed hesitation in doing so.