Hopes that BP would finally cap the crude oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico by Monday were dashed when company officials announced Sunday that it could take at least six more days to secure a new replacement cap over the spill’s source.
Until then, oil continues to stream into the Gulf at full force after robotic submarines were able to remove the old, leaky replacement cap on Saturday. The removal was the first step in making way for a new, tighter-fitting cap.
“We’re pleased with our progress,” BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells told reporters Sunday.
With no cap to stop the oil from shooting out of the sea bed, an estimated 1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons of the thick black crude continues to stream into the Gulf each day. That’s adding to the 88 million to 174 million gallons of oil federal officials estimate to have been released into the Gulf’s waters from Texas to Florida since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
Wells said BP must continue to run tests to determine whether the new cap will be able to withstand the tremendous pressure of escaping oil.
The new, sturdier cap weighs more than 150,000 pounds and has flexible pipes that are intended to funnel oil up to ships on the surface. The cap removed on Saturday, collected about 1 million gallons of the oil released each day. The new cap system — designed to collect 2.5 million to 3.4 million gallons a day — would be able to capture most or all of the oil being released.
“We’ve tried to work out as many of the bugs as we can. The challenge will come with something unexpected,” Wells said Sunday. Continue reading here.