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(Time) — Drilling engineers like to say that oil and gas wells have personalities — and that they always need to be treated with care. The Deepwater Horizon was drilling in the Macondo prospect in the Gulf of Mexico when an explosion sank the rig on April 20, triggering a spill that has spewed up to 40 million gal. of oil into the sea, with more flowing every day. In the weeks since, the energy giant BP has tried multiple ways to close the partially blown well — top hats, containment domes, tube insertions, junk shots, top kills — and has failed every time, as if the out-of-control well doesn’t want to cooperate.

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