Clarify cleanup costs in Gulf spill: US to BP

Scientists have found huge plumes of oil in the deep waters of the Gulf.

New Orleans: US officials have told BP to clarify what costs it will pay for cleanup of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, with crews employing new tactics to stem the leak as globs of oil wash ashore in three states.

And while BP scrambles to contain the hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil at a minimum that is spilling into the sea each day, The New York Times reported that scientists have found huge plumes of oil in the deep waters of the Gulf which indicate the spill could be far worse than previously estimated.

The latest effort by British Petroleum to stem the disaster involves connecting an "insertion tube" to the leak site on the ocean floor so oil can be siphoned to a container vessel at the surface.

The process was supposed to be completed overnight, but a frame connected to the pipe had to be brought back up to the surface and adjusted, BP said.

The company is under massive pressure from the US administration, including President Barack Obama, who on Friday blasted companies involved in the disaster for seeking to shift blame and shirk responsibility.

He accused executives from three firms tied to the Deepwater Horizon rig that sank last month, precipitating the disastrous spill, of creating a "ridiculous spectacle" of finger-pointing and passing the buck.

Two of Obama`s top cabinet members also sought to hold BP to public promises it has made to pay all the costs of the containment and clean-up of the spill, which has already run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a letter released on Saturday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called on BP chief executive Tony Hayward to provide "immediate public clarification of BP`s true intentions”.

They said BP`s public statements suggested the company would not seek to have a liability cap applied to claims against it, and would not ask for taxpayer dollars or tap into a liability fund.

Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard said that oil was washing ashore in at least two new locations -- Whiskey Island, Louisiana and Long Beach, Mississippi.

"We sent crews to assess what type of oil, and we determined it`s `soft patties` on Whiskey Island and `tar balls` on Long Beach," said Petty Officer Erik Swanson.

Oil globs have also washed ashore on barrier islands in Alabama.

Bureau Report