US & Canada

Obama promises 'every resource' to oil spill towns

President Obama is seated before boiled shrimp at a table with National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen and convenience store owner Patti Rigaud
Image caption Mr Obama has made three visits to Louisiana since the spill

US President Barack Obama has pledged to use "every resource" available to clean shores and help those affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

In his weekly address, Mr Obama said that BP appeared to be "making progress" in containing the leak after placing a cap over the well.

But the company's latest effort, even if successful, will only stop some of the leak.

Mr Obama has faced mounting criticism for his handling of the crisis.

Correspondents say that, as the political fall-out has increased, the president's tone has become stronger, saying earlier in the week that he was "furious" with how the issue has been managed.

In his address, broadcast from Grand Isle, Louisiana, Mr Obama said he had spoken to local residents who were angry not only about the money lost, but also about the potential loss of their entire livelihoods.

"We will continue to leverage every resource at our disposal to protect coastlines, to clean up the oil, to hold BP and other companies accountable for damages, to begin to restore the bounty and beauty of this region - and to aid the hardworking people of the Gulf as they rebuild their businesses and communities," he said.

'Every dime'

Four states have so far been affected by the spill - Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Image caption The oil spill has become a major political issue for Mr Obama

Mr Obama pledged to stand with the residents of Louisiana unitil they are "made whole".

"They meet their responsibilities. But now because of a manmade catastrophe - one that's not their fault and that's beyond their control - their lives have been thrown into turmoil," he said.

After a procedure known as "top kill" failed a week ago, BP has began a new attempt to stem the oil, which involves a lower marine riser package (LRMP) cap being put over the well to contain the leak.

Mr Obama also reiterated a commitment to ensure that BP was financially accountable for the damaged caused.

"We will make sure they pay every single dime owed to the people along the Gulf coast," he said.

Attempt to cap oil leak

The latest stage in BP's efforts to contain leaking oil has involved lowering a cap onto the failed blowout preventer (BOP) valve system on the seabed. The cap sits on the BOP's lower marine riser package (LMRP) section.
First, the damaged riser - the pipe which takes oil from the well - was cut where it nears the seabed using a remotely-operated shear. This was completed at 1930 CDT on 1 June (0030 GMT 2 June).
The next stage was for a diamond wire cutter to saw through the riser close to the LMRP. The blade got stuck and had to be removed but BP eventually cut through the pipe using giant shears manipulated by undersea robots (ROV).
After removing the pipe, the cap was lowered onto the LMRP enabling the leaking oil and gas to be funnelled to a drill ship on the surface. Latest estimates suggest more than half of the leaking oil is now being captured.
BACK {current} of {total} NEXT

The oil company, whose share price has dropped by a third since the accident, has been coming under fire for spending a reported $50m on TV advertising to improve its image while the crisis was still going on.

On Friday, Mr Obama also criticised BP for failing to rule out paying a quarterly shareholder dividend.

Captured oil

BP says it has spent more than $1bn so far on clean-up and containment efforts since the Deepwater horizon rig exploded and sank in April with the loss of 11 workers.

Speaking on Friday, Adm Allen said rough estimates showed that 1,000 barrels a day were being captured through the containment cap.

This is only a small part of the 12,000-19,000 barrels a day believed to be leaking.

Adm Allen has said the amount should increase as BP shut off vents to capture more of the oil, but added that it was too early to be over-optimistic.

But BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said he was confident the cap would work and capture up to 90% the spill.

The estimates for the amount of oil that has already leaked vary widely from 20 million to 45 million gallons.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites