Washington, July 10 (ANI): The BP oil leak could be completely contained as early as Monday if a new tighter cap can be fitted over the blown-out well.
The news that the leak could be halted is some of the most encouraging to come out of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in the two and a half months since the disaster struck.
According to The Telegraph, two relief wells are still being drilled deep below the sea floor to intercept the ruptured well and seal it up permanently with mud and cement - a job that may not be completed until mid-August.
The cap now in use was installed on June 4 to capture oil gushing from the bottom of the sea, but because it had to be fitted over a jagged cut in the well pipe it allows some crude to escape into the Gulf.
BP also worked on Friday to hook up another containment ship called the Helix Producer to a different part of the leaking well.
The ship, which will be capable of sucking up more than a million gallons a day when it is fully operating, should be working by Sunday.
The government estimates up to 2.5 million gallons of oil a day are spewing from the well, and the existing cap is collecting about one million gallons of that. The new cap is thought to be capable of stopping the entire flow.
Containing the leak will not end the crisis that began when the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers.
The relief wells are still being drilled, and a monumental cleanup and restoration project lies ahead. (ANI)