The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in flames last Tuesday, bringing U.S. Coast Guard vessels scrambling to control the blaze and rescue rig workers. The rig began listing, as the blaze continued, and sank Thursday.
BP, as the operator at the rig, said it was working on a comprehensive effort on the surface and under water to respond to the release of oil from the sunken rig.
The company said it was preparing to drill a relief well to secure the site. A drilling rig is en route to the site to inject a heavy fluid to prevent the release of oil or gas. It is estimated that 1,000 barrels of oil a day are escaping the well.
"We are attacking this spill on two fronts -- at the wellhead and on the surface offshore," said BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward, who is in the region to head up the response.
BP said during the weekend that its response team recovered more than 1,000 barrels of oil-water mixture and dispersants have been applied to the spill to contain the plume.
Steve Benz, president and chief executive of Marine Spill Response Corp., said his company was mounting the largest response in corporate history at the site.
"Given the current conditions and the massive size of our response, we are confident in our ability to tackle this spill offshore," added Hayward.