BP is getting close to a critical step to create hurricane-ready oil-capture systems at the gushing leak in the Gulf of Mexico in the next seven to 10 days, the top U.S. official overseeing the response said yesterday.

That step will involve removing a containment cap now atop failed blowout preventer equipment at the seabed to replace it with a larger cap and seal designed to contain more oil, according to BP’s most recent plan submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The new cap also will be designed to allow vessels at the surface to disconnect and move if a storm approaches, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told reporters at a briefing.


In addition, the new cap will be equipped with a sensor to get a more precise reading of the leak’s flow rate, he said.

The cap switch is slated for the end of June.

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