An Oil Well Killer Meets His Prey

Today BP is trying a "top kill" to stop the oil leaking into the Gulf. The man tasked with doing it, Pat Campbell, has some words for the well: "I'm here, I'm touching you, I'm telling you you're dead."

The Times yesterday ran a profile of Campbell, a professional oil well slayer whose company, Wild Well Control, is known for putting the hurt on unruly and leaky wells. He made a name for himself after the 1991 Gulf War when he killed wells that had been set on fire by Iraqi troops leaving Kuwait. But this time, Campbell's death grip will be extended by a robotic arm, 5,000 feet below the surface. He may also be trying a "junk shot"—choking off the blowout preventer. It is a no holds barred battle to the death.

Campbell learned well killing from legends in the field like Red Adair and Asger Hansen. When he worked for Hansen's company, Boots & Coots, Campbell tells the Times, "They'd say, ‘Hey, fat boy, why don't you just come along with that stuff and make sure it works?'" Hansen remembers that Campbell "made a hell of a good helper."

"Oh, we'll kill that well," Campbell said. BP's live oil well video feed can be watched here. Happy hunting, Pat!

[Image via NYT]