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BP spends freely to fight Gulf oil leak

BP officials say the company has spent $350 million so far to fight its Gulf of Mexico oil leak, with the spill entering its 19th day since a giant oil rig sank and caused thousands of barrels of oil a day to empty into the Gulf's water.

After failing to cap the leak with a 100-ton containment dome, BP said it will attempt to lower a smaller dome over the main leak point, according to media reports.

The larger structure didn't work because it became clogged with ice-like crystals as a result of cold temperatures and crushing ocean pressure a mile beneath the surface.

Meanwhile, the Army National Guard planned to airlift sandbags along a four-mile stretch of coastline between Port Fourchon and the Jefferson Parish line in Louisiana to act as a barrier against oil spills.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the oil slick from the spill has been moving west toward richer fishing grounds in Louisiana and is approaching Texas.

The slick is forecast to cover about 200 miles of the Gulf of Mexico.

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