BP starts to install new oil cap in Gulf of Mexico

16:27, July 11, 2010      

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British oil giant BP started on Saturday to remove its current oil containment cap in the Gulf of Mexico to make way for a new, tighter-fitting one.

Work continues as oil leaks from BP's Gulf of Mexico well after the oil containment cap was removed so it could be replaced with a bigger cap, in the Gulf of Mexico, in this frame grab captured from a BP live video feed July 10, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The London-based company said Saturday its engineers were using undersea robots to do the delicate work of removing the current cap to prepare for the installation of a new cap in the next four to seven days.

"Over the next four to seven days, depending on how things go, we should get that sealing cap on," BP's Senior Vice President Kent Wells said in a conference call from Houston on Saturday.

Wells said the new cap was expected to capture all the oil leaking from the underwater gusher, and it would, not like the current cap, prevent oil from billowing out from the bottom and top.

However, officials said the process of switching caps, which was approved by the U.S. spill commander Thad Allen Friday, would leave the oil gushing unrestrained in the Gulf of Mexico for four to seven days before the new cap was put in place.

BP also has another cap ready in case the new cap fails to work, Wells said.

Meanwhile, BP was hooking up a third oil-recovery vessel, Helix Producer, with hopes that it could begin siphoning oil by Sunday.

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