NEW ORLEANS (AP) BP crews are claiming progress as they try to fit a tighter cap on the ruptured well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

But in the meantime, the oil is gushing freely from the wellhead and officials are warning that there’s no guarantee the delicate operation will succeed.

The tighter cap is designed to catch all the crude that’s flowing from the well. The cap that had been in place was collecting about 1 million of the estimated 1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons that’s been spewing from the well daily.

Coast Guard Capt. James McPherson said, “It’s not just going to be, you put the cap on, it’s done,” adding “It’s not like putting a cap on a tube of toothpaste.”

BP said the capping operation, which began Saturday, should be completed within six days and is ahead of schedule. It’s aiming to have the new cap in place as early as Monday, though officials caution that unexpected obstacles could still appear.

The permanent fix of plugging the well from the bottom remains slated for mid-August.


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