posted on May, 4 2010 @ 09:20 PM
A giant iron funnel being built in a bid to halt the huge spill from a Gulf of Mexico well will be deployed to the seabed on Thursday, BP says.
The 98-tonne, dome-topped box being built by steel workers will be connected to a drill ship and lowered to the sea floor.
BP has never deployed such a structure at a depth of 5,000ft (1,500 metres) and difficulties may occur, it says.
"There's no guarantees," BP boss Tony Hayward told AP news agency.
"We'll undoubtedly encounter some issues as we go through that process.
"But if that was a good outcome, then you would have the principal leak contained by the early part of next week," Mr Hayward said.
BP has accepted it is "absolutely responsible" for cleaning up the spill caused by a blast on a drilling rig.
Its shares have plunged more than 15% since the 22 April explosion.
It is estimated that the clean-up could cost BP up to $15bn (£10bn).
BP insists that the rig's contractor, Transocean, was to blame for the accident but, under US law, it has to bear the cost of the clean-up as the
operator of the oilfield.