NEW ORLEANS — The federal official leading the Gulf oil spill cleanup said Friday a new containment cap and an additional ship collecting oil could effectively contain the spill in the next three days.
The work to replace a leaky containment cap on the well head with a tighter one will begin Saturday, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said Friday. At the same time, a ship connecting to a different part of the leak is expected to come online Sunday.
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Oil will flow unimpeded into the Gulf during the cap switch for at least part of the weekend.
If all goes according to plan, the combination of the cap and the new vessel could collect all the leaking oil by Monday. Work continues on what officials hope will be the ultimate solution: a pair of relief wells intercepting the leaking well far below the seafloor.
The new containment cap is expected to form a better seal over the well head, to allow more of the oil to be collected and sent up to ships on the surface for collection or burning.