UPDATE: Work on New Cap for Gulf Oil Leak Moves Ahead

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP crews are claiming progress as they try to fit a tighter cap on the ruptured well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

But in the meantime, the oil is gushing freely from the wellhead and officials are warning that there's no guarantee the delicate operation will succeed.

The tighter cap is designed to catch all the crude that's flowing from the well. The cap that had been in place was collecting about 1 million of the estimated 1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons that's been spewing from the well daily.

Coast Guard Capt. James McPherson says, "It's not just going to be, you put the cap on, it's done," adding "It's not like putting a cap on a tube of toothpaste."

BP says the capping operation, which began Saturday, should be completed within six days and is ahead of schedule. It's aiming to have the new cap in place as early as tomorrow, though officials caution that unexpected obstacles could still appear.

The permanent fix of plugging the well from the bottom remains slated for mid-August.

Meanwhile, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama says the administration is confident that BP's latest effort to contain the spill will work.

At the same time, Obama adviser David Axelrod acknowledges that BP's engineers are in "uncharted waters" when it comes to dealing with the leak.

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