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July 09, 2010

Big Weekend Expected for Fighting the Oil Leak

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A sealing cap is to be installed this weekend that will enable up to 60,000 to 80,000 barrels per day to be captured and provide accurate measurement of the flow rate.

BP could start replacing the current cap with a new sealing cap as early as Saturday. Crews need special tools to switch out the cap, so it could be three to four days until they're in a position to put the new cap on, Allen said.

Scientists have estimated 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil are spewing from BP's breached well each day. But Allen said once the long-term containment cap is in place, for the first time, they will have empirical data to determine the actual flow rate



Switching out the containment caps would increase the potential oil gathered each day to between 60,000 and 80,000 barrels, Allen said. The new alignment would allow for four oil recovery vessels, rather than the maximum of three allowed in the current setup.

The Helix Producer, which can keep up to 25,000 barrels of oil out of the water per day, could be hooked up to the breached well sometime Friday and the ship's recovery capabilities could be functional by Sunday
.

If the leak is less than 53,000 barrels per day then it could be fully contained in the next 4 days. The relief well is expected around the end of July up to Mid-August. The relief well would allow a cementing of the leak farther down for a permanent stoppage if it is successful.

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