Cap placed over Gulf leak; oil flow still raging

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June 4, 2010, 5:41 am
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(NECN: Grand Isle, La.) - A cap was placed atop the blown-out Gulf of Mexico oil well Thursday night, but oil was still spewing into the Gulf waters on Friday morning.

The containment cap was placed over the main pipe on the leaking well on Thursday, but the oil flow seemed to overpower that cap. BP spokesman Toby Odone said he had no immediate information on whether the cap was successfully attached.

BP PLC's Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles told NBC's "Today" show that oil has started flowing up the pipe from the cap, but it would not be until later Friday that they would known how much is being captured.

The placement was a positive step but not a solution, said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the disaster.
     
"Even if successful, this is only a temporary and partial fix and we must continue our aggressive response operations at the source, on the surface and along the Gulf's precious coastline," Allen said in a statement.

Part of this LMRP containment cap process involved the cutting of the riser pipe, which was ultimately achieved on Thursday morning. But that step in the process likely increased the flow of oil into the Gulf. The cut was supposed to allow for the cap to be fitted over the leak, allowing for minimal oil to escape its grasp. Video of the leak on Friday morning did not show the cap, just a cloud of oil flowing.

Even if this containment cap proves "successful," a relief well slated to be operational in August is still described as the best chance to end the oil leak disaster which is nearing 50 days.

The well has spit out between 21 million and 46 million gallons of oil since a rig exploded on April 20 about 50 miles from the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit Louisiana for an update on conditions along the Gulf coast. He canceled trips to Indonesia and Australia planned for later this month.

Material from The Associated Press used in this report.

Tags: oil spill, BP, British Petroleum, Gulf oil spill, containment cap
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