BP expects to attach new cap on leaking well on Monday

08:10, July 13, 2010      

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The Transocean Discoverer Inspiration (foreground) arrives at the site of the Deepwater Horizon to install a "capping stack" on the well in the Gulf of Mexico, in this handout photograph taken on July 10, 2010 and released on July 11, 2010. BP Plc said on Sunday it is making progress on a new system to capture almost all of the oil spewing from its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico as residents braced for more economic and environmental damage. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

British oil giant BP expects to attach a new cap Monday on the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico, in a long-awaited effort to stop the weeks-long oil spill, a BP executive said.

The cap, a 150,000-pound metal stack, was very close to the well and crews would be attaching it later Monday, BP's chief operating officer Doug Suttles told a media briefing. The process may last throughout the day, he said.

BP removed the old cap on Saturday to make way for the installation of the new, larger one.

Suttles said it will take days to know whether the new cap can withstand the pressure of the gushing oil and siphon it through pipes to vessels on the Gulf's surface.

Once the cap is attached, the two vessels that are capturing oil from the leaking well will be shut down for crews to monitor the pressure and check the condition of the well, he said.

A third oil-recovery ship, the Helix Producer, was expected to start up on Sunday but Suttles said two minor technical glitches prevented that. He expected the ship to begin Monday and reach full capacity within two days or so.

With the new cap and oil vessels, BP expects that all crude oil should be contained.

However, Suttles said, even the cap works as planned, BP will continue to finish its two relief wells so that heavy drilling fluid and fluid can be pumped in to permanently kill the leak.

The first relief well, started May 2, reached a measured depth of 17,810 feet on July 11, and the well is intended to intercept the original well at approximately 18,000 feet. The second relief well is below 16,000 feet, according to a BP statement on Monday.

Source: Xinhua


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