BP claims progress on new cap as oil spews freely - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

BP claims progress on new cap as oil spews freely

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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 yesterday, 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.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A BP official says that early work to contain the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is going as expected.

Kent Wells, a vice president at the company, said Saturday that the old cap on the leak has been removed and robotic submarines are working to remove other gear around the well head.

The robots are trying to remove a flange so eventually another cap can be fitted over the gusher. The new cap is supposed to prevent any oil from spilling into the Gulf.

Wells said unbolting and removing the flange will last into Sunday. Crews are working around the clock in hopes of getting the new cap in place within four to seven days.

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