According to several reports, the devastating BP oil leak could be contained a fortnight ahead of schedule, it was claimed yesterday.
Engineers said the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico might be shut off in two weeks.
Hundreds of people – including a furious Charlie Crist – had earlier joined hands on an oil-stained beach to demonstrate against offshore drilling.
Official estimates say that between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil a day are leaking into the gulf.
BP is collecting 20,000 barrels from the sea every day and new equipment being moved to the site off the coast of Louisiana could raise the rate to 50,000.
There was more good news for the company yesterday when Hurricane Alex was downgraded and forecasters said it was less likely to affect the site.
BP could be forced to stop the rescue operation for up to two weeks if a major storm hits.