The US government asked BP about its plans to replace a containment cap with a tighter seal on the gushing oil well.
The letter signed signed by Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen also asked BP to explain the viability of simultaneously hooking up the Helix Producer, a third oil-recovery ship, over the next two or three days, that would increase the production rate to between 60,000-80,000 barrels.
Oil has been gushing from the well in the Gulf of Mexico since end Apr, when the rig exploded and sank, causing the worst spill in US history that is leading to massive ecological degradation in the ocean and along the coastline of five Gulf states.
"BP is in the final stages of drilling one of two relief wells, which is now 17,780 feet deep. The leaking well can only be permanently capped when the two relief wells are finished. Our target date remains the middle of Aug because there are a number of uncertainties related to what happens when we get down and penetrate the well bore," said Thad Allen.