How ‘top hat’ could stop oil leak

Additional oil leak BP will lower a second, smaller containment dome, called a “top hat,” to the seabed to try to stop oil flowing from the largest leak at the site of the sunken oil rig. How it will work: Captured oil pumped to drill ship on surface Smaller dome keeps out cold water so hydrate crystals can’t form, block oil from being pumped to surface Capped drill pipe First containment dome rests on seabed

Methanol solvent, warm water pumped into dome to prevent crystal buildup

‘Top hat’
Dome fully assembled so it can start working before clogging crystals form Diameter About 4 ft. (1.2 m)

Weight About 2 tons (1.8 mt)

Well head

Blowout preventer (BOP)

Size comparison
Drill pipe First dome Top hat


© 2010 MCT Source: BP, AP, McClatchy Washington Bureau Graphic: Lee Hulteng, Judy Treible


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