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Robots work on latest oil leak bid

Robot submarines are carrying equipment and cutting small pipes at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, preparing to place a cap-like containment valve over the blown-out oil well.

Video feeds showed the robots using a circular saw-like device to cut small pipes around a wider riser that is spewing oil.

BP spokesman Graham MacEwen said the robots are working to clear the way to bring a larger, more powerful diamond-edged saw to slice the leaking riser and place a cap on it.

BP says if successful, the cap could contain the majority of the gushing oil and bring it to the surface. The company could begin cutting into the riser as early as Wednesday.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama plans to meet the co-chairmen of an independent commission investigating BP’s catastrophic oil spill tomorrow.

A senior administration official said Mr Obama will be at the White House to meet Bob Graham, a former Florida governor and US senator, and William K Reilly, a former head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

It will be Mr Obama’s first meeting with the group since naming the commission less than two weeks ago.

The session comes three days after BP said its latest attempt to stop the oil spewing out of a broken well 5,000 feet underwater had failed, and four days after Mr Obama visited coastal Louisiana to assess the situation and assure residents frustrated by the government’s response that he is doing everything possible to fix the well.

The Gulf oil spill began on April 20 when BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers and rupturing the underwater pipe.

In the six weeks since, the government estimates that between 19.7M and 43M gallons of crude have poured into the Gulf - affecting beaches, wildlife and the local economy and making it the worst spill in US history.

After BP announced on Saturday that its latest attempt to stop the oil, known as a “top kill”, had failed, Mr Obama said that disappointing news was “as enraging as it is heartbreaking”.

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