Video shows new cap put on leaking BP Gulf well

NEW ORLEANS — Live underwater video showed a new cap was placed Monday onto the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, offering hope of containing the gusher for the first time since BP's deepwater rig exploded in April.

BP officials did not immediately comment on the video images streamed online by the company.

The company has said the next step will be running tests to make sure there are no other leaks from the well. Tests and monitoring could last from six hours to two days, and oil will still leak into the Gulf during that time.

The old cap, removed Saturday, did not have a tight fit and allowed crude to escape.

The cap is only meant to be a temporary fix. To permanently plug the well, BP is drilling two relief wells to reach the blown-out well from underground and inject heavy drilling mud and concrete.

BP expects one relief well will do the job, but it's drilling a second as a backup. Officials have offered varying estimates for when that work will be done, but mid-August is the most common timeframe.

The cap removed Saturday was installed June 4 to capture oil gushing from the bottom of sea, but because it had to be fitted over a jagged cut in the well pipe, it allowed some crude to escape into the Gulf.

BP also hooked up a containment ship called the Helix Producer to a different part of the leaking well. The ship began siphoning oil Monday and should be able to ramp up in a couple days to take on more than 1 million gallons a day, BP said.

The government estimates 1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons of oil a day are spewing from the well, and the existing cap is collecting about 1 million gallons of that. With the new cap and the new containment vessel, the system will be capable of capturing 2.5 million to 3.4 million gallons - essentially all the leaking oil, officials said.

Watch live streaming video from wkrg_oil_spill at livestream.com

© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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