Feds say new cap could contain Gulf leak by Monday
Associated Press Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The BP oil leak could be completely contained as early as Monday if a new, tighter cap can be fitted over the blown-out well, the government official in charge of the crisis said Friday in some of the most encouraging news to come out of the Gulf in the 21⁄2 months since the disaster struck.
If the project planned to begin this weekend is successful, it would simply mean no more oil would escape to foul the Gulf of Mexico. The well would still be busted and leaking – workers would just funnel what comes out of it to tankers at the surface. The hope for a permanent solution remains with two relief wells intended to plug it completely far beneath the seafloor.
“I use the word ‘contained,'” said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. “‘Stop’ is when we put the plug in down below.”
Crews using remote-controlled submarines plan to swap out the cap over the weekend, taking advantage of a window of good weather following weeks of delays caused by choppy seas.
The cap now in use was installed June 4 to capture oil gushing from the bottom of sea, but because it had to be fitted over a jagged cut in the well pipe, it allows some crude to escape into the Gulf. The new cap – dubbed “Top Hat Number 10” – is designed to help BP catch all the oil.