BP to put smaller pipe inside gushing pipe in attempt to stop massive Gulf of Mexico oil leak

HAMMOND, La. (AP) — BP officials say they have decided to first try sucking oil away from the gushing Gulf well with a tube that will be inserted into the jagged pipe leaking on the seafloor.

Company spokesman Bill Salvin said BP hopes to start moving the 6-inch tube into the leaking 21-inch pipe — known as the riser — on Thursday night. The smaller tube will be surrounded by a stopper to keep oil from leaking into the sea.

The tube will then siphon the oil to a tanker at the surface.

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 says the next option is a small containment box called a "top hat," which is already on the seafloor.