Work on new cap for Gulf oil leak moves ahead

NEW ORLEANS Robotic submarines have completed most of the necessary removal work on the broken well, making way for the new cap.

Through Saturday night, a flange on the top of the leaking well was removed, making way for a new flange spool which will connect the new cap to the well.

The old cap, which allowed some oil to leak out into the /*Gulf*/, was successfully removed Saturday. Once removed, millions of gallons of oil spewed out mostly unimpeded into the water.

Officials ensure that the new cap will form a perfect seal.

/*Coast Guard*/ and /*BP*/ officials hope the work can be done within three to six days.

Containing the leak will not end the crisis that began when the /*Deepwater Horizon*/ drilling platform exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. The relief wells are still being drilled so they can inject heavy mud and cement into the leaking well to stop the flow, which is expected to be done by mid-August. Then a monumental cleanup and restoration project lies ahead.

Latest Developments:

  • A senior adviser to President /*Barack Obama*/ says the administration is confident that BP's latest effort to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will work.

    At the same time, Obama adviser David Axelrod acknowledges that BP's engineers are in "uncharted waters" when it comes to dealing with the leak.

  • Ken Feinberg, the man in charge of administering the $20 billion compensation fund established by BP for victims of the Gulf oil spill, said Saturday he's ready to give those eligible a full six months' worth of emergency payments on a single request. Feinberg also said that speeding up the claims process is part of the effort to help people feel an added degree of financial certainty.
  • BP declined to comment on a report that it is talking about possibly selling $12 billion worth of assets, including a stake in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oil field to Houston-based Apache Corp. The Sunday Times of London newspaper did not cite a source for its report. BP is thought to be considering some asset sales to raise cash to cover its oil spill liability.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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