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BP shears off pipe to fit cap over gushing oil

A saw trims part of the blowout preventer at the site of the oil spill Thursday. The saw got stuck, so giant shears were used to finish the job.

BP PLC

A saw trims part of the blowout preventer at the site of the oil spill Thursday. The saw got stuck, so giant shears were used to finish the job.

METAIRIE, La. — Live video showed that an inverted funnel-like cap was being maneuvered into place Thursday night over the oil spewing from a busted well. However, the gushing oil made it very difficult to tell if the cap was fitting well.

BP officials did not immediately return calls for comment.

A rubber seal on the inside will attempt to keep oil from escaping, though engineers acknowledge some crude will still come out.

"We'll have to see when we get the containment cap on it just how effective it is," said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the disaster. BP sliced off the main pipe on the leaking oil well with giant shears Thursday in the latest bid to curtail the spill, but the cut was jagged, so a looser fitting cap was needed.

The White House says the federal government sent BP a $69 million bill Thursday for costs so far because of the spill. Spokesman Robert Gibbs says the bill is the first to be sent to BP.

Meanwhile, newly disclosed internal Coast Guard documents from the day after the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig indicated that U.S. officials were warning of a leak of 336,000 gallons per day of crude from the well in the event of a complete blowout.

The well didn't have such a failure. But the volume turned out to be much closer to that figure than the 42,000 gallons per day that BP first estimated. Now, 500,000 to 1 million gallons of crude is believed to be leaking daily.

BP shears off pipe to fit cap over gushing oil 06/03/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 4, 2010 12:02am]

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