BP Plans to Suck Up Spewing Oil Before Dropping New Containment Box

Before attempting another untested solution to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, BP hopes to suck away some of the spewing oil that thwarted earlier efforts to contain the growing spill.

BP engineers are planning to employ a small containment box called a "top hat" in the next few days to cap the gushing Gulf well, but first will try to suck oil away from the well and into a tanker on the surface of the sea.

Company spokesman Bill Salvin said BP hopes to start moving a 6-inch tube Thursday night into the jagged pipe known as the riser that has already leaked 4 million gallons of oil. The smaller tube will be surrounded by a stopper to keep oil from leaking into the sea.

Salvin says engineers have to first move the smaller tube past seawater that has gotten into the riser. The seawater could mix with methane to form crystals that could clog the pipe.

BP said Thursday its costs for fighting the massive oil spill have risen to total about $450 million.

BP PLC said in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the tab includes money it has given to the coastal states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and to the federal government for their responses.

The costs also include efforts to contain the crude, ongoing work to drill a relief well and settlements.

BP has estimated the price tag increases by at least $10 million a day. BP hasn't incurred any massive new expenses, and the sharp increase since Monday was likely caused by a lag in reporting costs to BP, company spokesman Mark Proegler said.

Shares of BP have fallen about 20 percent on the New York Stock Exchange since the oil rig accident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.