BP said yesterday that it is making progress on a new system to capture almost all of the oil spewing from its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico, as effected residents remain braced for more economic and environmental damage.
“We’re pleased with our progress,” BP senior vice president Kent Wells told reporters.
BP, which has set up a $20 billion spill fund under pressure from the White House, removed a smaller containment cap from the gushing well on Saturday.
It will take up to a week for robots working one mile underwater to completely fit a new cap and seal. Oil will flow freely until the bigger containment system is installed, further hurting tourism and fishing in all five states along the Gulf Coast.
BP has another cap ready if the new system does not work. It is also making final checks on a ship that will be able to siphon up to 25,000 barrels per day from the well, Wells said. BP expected the ship to begin processing oil last night.
On Day 83 of the disaster, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department started interviewing witnesses as part of a criminal and civil investigation into the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
The Obama administration has pressed BP to take advantage of calm weather and move forward with the containment.