BP oil spill swamps Ya­hoo search en­gine in 2010

The Pak Banker - - Company& -

SAN FRAN­CISCO: It took a man-made dis­as­ter to top­ple a celebrity from the top spot on Ya­hoo Inc.'s an­nual list of most pop­u­lar search re­quests, AP re­ported.

BP PLC's mas­sive oil spill in the Gulf Coast drew the most in­ter­est among the tens of mil­lions of peo­ple that used Ya­hoo's search en­gine dur­ing 2010. The In­ter­net com­pany re­leased its top 10 rank­ings Tues­day.

Michael Jack­son was Ya­hoo's most re­quested sub­ject in 2009, the year that the en­ter­tainer's death stunned the world.

Brit­ney Spears, an­other star-crossed singer, held the No. 1 po­si­tion on Ya­hoo's search list from 2005 through 2008.

Af­ter fall­ing to No. 5 last year, Spears dropped to No. 10 on Ya­hoo's list this year.

Al­though Ya­hoo's search en­gine is the sec­ond most used on the Web, it's not the best barom­e­ter of peo­ple's on­line in­ter­ests.

That's be­cause Google fields bil­lions more search re­quests than Ya­hoo, Mi­crosoft Corp.'s Bing and AOL Inc. com­bined.

Bing and AOL re­leased their top searches ear­lier this week, with re­al­ity TV star Kim Kar­dashian top­ping Bing's list and golfer Tiger Woods lead­ing the pack of celebri­ties at AOL. Kar­dashian came in fourth on Ya­hoo's list and sev­enth in AOL's celebrity rank­ings; Woods was third on Bing and didn't ap­pear among Ya­hoo's Top 10.

Google doesn't plan to break down its top searches un­til later in De­cem­ber so it can get an even bet­ter han­dle on what piqued Web surfers' cu­rios­ity this year.

As usual, pop cul­ture dom­i­nated the rest of Ya­hoo's Top 10.

Other celebri­ties on Ya­hoo's list in­cluded teen singer and ac­tress Mi­ley Cyrus (No. 3), singer Lady Gaga (No. 5), ac­tress Megan Fox (No. 7), teen heart­throb Justin Bieber (No. 8) and TV's top-rated show, the Amer­i­can Idol tal­ent com­pe­ti­tion (No. 9).

Soc­cer's World Cup, which drew huge crowds and tele­vi­sion au­di­ences in June, grabbed the sec­ond spot on Ya­hoo's list while Ap­ple Inc.'s most hot-sell­ing gad­get, the iPhone, came in sixth

In a sep­a­rate news item, Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported that BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) has said it has sus­pended con­struc­tion on a drilling rig at its Lib­erty oil field project in Alaska's Beau­fort Sea pend­ing an en­gi­neer­ing and de­sign re­view to en­sure the project can be built and op­er­ated safely.

BP contractors have been work­ing on the rig since it ar­rived at the Endi­cott off­shore oil field in the sum­mer of 2009.

Since then, BP has en­coun­tered some "is­sues" dur­ing con­struc­tion that prompted the com­pany to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend con­struc­tion un­til the is­sues can be re­solved, said Steve Rine­hart, a spokesman for BP's Alaska ex­plo­ration unit.

BP's ac­tiv­i­ties in the U.S. have come un­der in­creased scru­tiny since the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon dis­as­ter in the Gulf of Mex­ico this past spring and sum­mer, and af­ter the com­pany pleaded guilty in 2007 to a mis­de­meanor crim­i­nal charge of neg­li­gence over an oil spill the pre­vi­ous year on Alaska's North Slope.

Rine­hart did not say what the is­sues at the Lib­erty drill rig were or when they be­came ap­par­ent.

But he said BP's re­view will fo­cus on the rig's power sup­ply, high-pres­sure mud­han­dling sys­tem, heat­ing, ven­til­la­tion and air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tems and other sys­tems "that are cru­cial to op­er­at­ing the rig safely."

Parker Drilling Co. (PKD) built the rig and is in­volved in con­struc­tion.

BP plans to con­tinue work on the Lib­erty project when the con­struc­tion is­sues are re­solved, Rine­hart said.

The com­pany had hoped to start drilling a waste-dis­posal well in mid-2011 and drill the first oil well by late 2011, Rine­hart said.

That sched­ule could be pushed back, al­though BP is keen to con­tinue with the project, Rine­hart said.

"This is a very im­por­tant project for us, it's a big project for Alaska and an im­por­tant project for the coun­try," Rine­hart said.

"We want to make sure it's done safely and care­fully."

Ear­lier this year, BP had hoped to start ex­ploratory drilling at Lib­erty this year, but in July the com­pany said it was post­pon­ing drilling to 2011 to al­low the com­pany time to re­spond to in­quiries from fed­eral and state reg­u­la­tors about the safety of the project.

BP plans to drill from a gravel is­land the com­pany built at the Endi­cott field, to tap an es­ti­mated 100 mil­lion­bar­rel reser­voir off the coast.

The rig will drill hor­i­zon­tally for six to eight miles in a tech­nique called "ul­tra­ex­tended reach drilling" that BP main­tains is safe, if untested at such a long range, but that some crit­ics have said could be dan­ger­ous.

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups have asked the In­te­rior Depart­ment to halt the project over con­cerns about safety and the com­pany's abil­ity to re­spond to an ac­ci­dent. -Ap

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