(NECN: Metaire, La.) - A positive development has finally been made in the attempt to contain the oil leaking from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
"For the first time in a couple of days I have some good news; we have just cut the riser pipe off the lower marine package," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said during an update Thursday morning shortly after 8 a.m. local time.
The diamond-tip saw blade originally used for the job became stuck in the pipe, so crews replaced it with sheers. The cut is not as clean as it would have been with the saw, which will make it more difficult to seal the containment cap over the freshly cut pipe.
"This is an irregular cut. It will be a little more challenging to get the seal around, but we will have a containment device there and we'll be able to capture more oil than we would otherwise," Adm. Allen said.
The next step will be to put the containment cap over the freshly cut pipe within the "next couple of hours." Adm. Allen said it remains to be seen how effective the cap will be with the irregular cut, but that this is a positive step forward.
He said the option to use undersea dispersants will be on the table should oil escape out the side of the containment cap. Even if there had been a clean cut, British Petroleum officials warned that it would likely only capture "most" of the oil.
With the containment cap in place, oil and gas will be fed up to tankers at the Gulf surface. The "absolute solution" to the oil leak will not come until August at the earliest, when a relief well currently in production will be operational.
Video courtesy of CNN.