Opinion Brief

BP's new 'choke line' solution: Will it work?

With prodding from the Coast Guard, BP has come up with a new plan to siphon up most of the gushing oil by the end of June. Is that cause for optimism?

The Coast Guard over the weekend gave BP 48 hours to speed up its plan to siphon more oil from the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico, and BP appears to have come through: By the end of June, BP says, it will increase the oil it collects and burns to as much as 53,000 barrels a day, from 15,000 right now. The plan pushes up BP's old timeline by two weeks. To pull it off, BP will try sucking up oil through the "choke line" pipe used to pump drilling mud into the blowout preventer during BP's failed "top kill" operation. Given BP's track record, Gulf residents are skeptical. Are they right to be? (Watch a CNN report about BP's slow oil recovery)

This could be fixed in a month: What welcome news — if everything goes right with BP's "aggressive" new plan, says Douglas McIntyre in 24/7 Wall Street, the end of the nightmare will be in sight. With new ships from Europe and Brazil coming to help with the job, a tighter containment cap, and the choke-line hack, BP should be sucking up the entire 40,000-barrel-a-day geyser by the end of June, so no more crude would be leaking into the environment."BP outlines plan to capture as much as 80,000 barrels a day"

It's way too early to celebrate: BP itself admits "this new plan isn't risk-free," says Alan Boyle at MSNBC's Cosmic Log. Among the many things that can go wrong: Hurricanes; the choke and kill lines could erode or be clogged from the junk shot used in failed earlier attempts to stop up the well; one or more of the closely crowded vessels could collide; and since they'll be dealing with the same gas that blew up the rig, we could have another fatal "flare-up.""How to suck up all that oil"

Whatever the outcome, this is a win for kicking butt: All anyone can do is hope that BP succeeds in "mopping up the disaster" entirely, and safely, says Chris Morran in The Consumerist. But the lesson here is that BP needed "a verbal boot in the butt from the U.S. Coast Guard" to ramp-up its "lackadaisical" schedule. Maybe Obama should have made BP "try a little harder" a little earlier."BP swears its going to try a little harder"

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SEE MORE OF THE WEEK'S COVERAGE OF THE BP OIL SPILL:BP's 8 dumbest mistakesPunishing BP: 6 brutal proposalsBP oil spill: 9 strange facts

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