The containment chamber that was being fabricated to hold the released oil in the Gulf of Mexico needs to fall back on Plan B as the containment dome encountered flammable hydrate formations as it was lowered onto the leak site.

The mixture of oil, natural gas, pressure and cold water has contributed to the formation of gas hydrates, similar to ice crystals, which formed on the inside of the 100-ton chamber as it neared the seabed and plugged up the top of the structure from where the oil was to be funneled to a vessel on the surface stated BP chief operating officer, Doug Suttles.

BP officials were not giving up hopes that a containment boxes could cover the well. But they said it could be Monday (05.10.2010) or later before they decide whether to make another attempt to capture the oil and funnel it to a tanker at the surface.

Meanwhile, a Plan B has been incorporated which includes crews who are planning to park the giant oil-containment box on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, and offload equipment that could be used in a new attempt to stem the flow of oil gushing into the sea.

The company was considering several options, including the most promising technique of lowering a smaller containment box to control the oil flow known as a “top hat” which could be implemented around the middle of this week.

Another option, alebit extended project is to utilize a tube to shoot mud and concrete directly into the well’s blowout preventer which would then be sealed by cement, a process called the “junk shot” that could take two to three weeks.

Other options under consideration included raising the box high enough that warmer water would prevent the slush from forming, or using methanol gas to prevent the crystals from forming.

Philip Johnson, a petroleum engineering professor at the University of Alabama, comments on a risky but possibly effective option of cutting the riser pipe and slipping a larger pipe over the cut end could conceivably divert the flow of oil to the surface.

“That’s a very tempting option,” he said. “The risk is when you cut the pipe, the flow is going to increase. … That’s a scary option, but there’s still a reasonable chance they could pull this off.”

Meanwhile, The Joint Response Team continues to use boom, skimming, controlled burns, and chemical dispersants to prevent the oil from reaching Gulf coastline.

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