BP robots hit snag while sawing pipe: Coast Guard

HOUSTON (Reuters) - BP Plc has hit a snag in its attempt to saw through a riser pipe in a risky operation to funnel leaking oil from a blown-out Gulf of Mexico well to the surface, the top U.S. official overseeing the cleanup effort said on Wednesday.

BP’s undersea robots succeeded in making a sheer cut to the riser pipe, but the robot’s sawblade became stuck inside the pipe while attempting to make a second cut, said Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, speaking to reporters in Schriever, Louisiana.

“They’re working to move the riser pipe to set it free,” Allen said. “The goal is later on today to finish that cut, and to be able to put a containment device over the top of the wellhead.”

Reporting by Chris Baltimore, editing by Vicki Allen