Dark clouds of smoke and fire emerge as oil burns during a controlled fire in the Gulf of Mexico, May 6, 2010. The U.S. Coast Guard working in partnership with BP PLC, local residents, and other federal agencies conducted the "in situ burn" to aid in preventing the spread of oil. (REUTERS / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Stumberg-US Navy)

By Chris Baltimore and Steve Gorman (2010-05-13)

HOUSTON/PORT FOURCHON, Louisiana (Reuters) - BP Plc will deploy a small containment dome to try to trap oil from a blown-out undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico in the "next couple of days," a company spokesman said on Thursday.

Earlier, the BP spokesman had told Reuters the metal dome would be deployed next week.

"The top hat deployment is the next couple of days," BP spokesman Jon Pack said. "We don't have a definitive date."

The dome is BP's latest attempt to control the roughly 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 liters) per day that has been gushing from the broken well for more than three weeks.

The oil spill could become the worst in U.S. history and threatens an environmental catastrophe along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

A buildup of slushy gas hydrates stymied BP's first attempt last week at covering the leak with a much-larger dome and there is no certainty that the next stab at it will succeed. …

BP says will deploy small dome in next few days

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