White House says BP's new operation to start soon

CHICAGO Sun May 30, 2010 5:01pm EDT

President Obama departs the East Room of the White House following his news conference, May 27, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Obama departs the East Room of the White House following his news conference, May 27, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - The amount of oil and gas leaking from BP's ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico could increase as much as 20 percent while efforts are made to cap it, the White House said on Sunday.

President Barack Obama was briefed by administration officials and discussed BP's efforts to put machines into place that will be used to cut the well's riser pipe so a containment device can be used to try to siphon off most of the leaking oil and gas up to a tanker ship on the surface.

"According to BP, the riser cutting will likely start Monday or Tuesday," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, who is in charge of the clean-up effort, said that, as the president had directed, government and contractor clean-up resources in affected areas will be tripled.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Beech)