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BP tries new cap, containment ship

POSTED: Sunday, July 11, 2010 - 3:33pm

UPDATED: Sunday, July 11, 2010 - 3:37pm

Any barrier between the oil spill and Gulf waters is gone. The old cap and top flange that had been buffering the flow of oil from the crippled Deepwater rig a mile below the Gulf surface were removed Saturday night. A new cap and seal, being fitted now, promise to shut off the leak.

Kent Wells, BP Senior Vice President is confident the cap will be in place this week, saying, "I think the bigger way to look at it, over the next four to seven days we should get that sealing cap on... that's our plan."

The tighter cap and increased containment efforts are BP's best hope to stop the flow and siphon the spill until relief wells are complete.

Wells estimates the increase in captured crude will be significant. "Over the next two weeks or so, we will get a total of 60,000-80,000 barrels a day of containment," he said.

That's three times better that what they had been catching. But that improvement hinges on a new containment vessel, the Helix Producer, doing its job. It's one of three new vessels that will join the Discover Enterprise at the site of the spill. BP had planned to connect the oil-collecting ship to a floating riser containment system weeks ago, but high seas and hurricane Alex made that impossible... until today.

Clear weather and calm seas have BP, the U.S. Coast Guard and even President Barack Obama saying today that they are hopeful the leak will be capped and the Helix Producer will be pumping more oil out of the Gulf of Mexico by Friday.

Attached is a slide show created by BP showing the progress of oil containment.

Kent_Wells_technical_update_061010_slides.pdf1.14 MB

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