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BP cap holds

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BP cap holds

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NEW ORLEANS – The custom-built cap that finally cut off the oil flowing from BP’s broken well held steady yesterday, and the company hopes to leave it that way until crews can permanently kill the leak.That differs from the plan the federal government laid out a day earlier, in which millions more gallons of oil could be released before the cap is connected to tankers at the surface and oil is sent to be collected through a mile of pipes.Federal officials wary of making the well unstable have said that plan would relieve pressure on the cap and may be the safer option, but it would mean three days of oil flowing into the Gulf before the collection began.
Both sides downplayed the apparent contradiction in plans. Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who will make the final decision, said the containment plan he described Saturday hadn’t changed, and that he and BP executives were on the same page.“No one associated with this whole activity . . . wants to see any more oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Doug Suttles, BP PLC’s chief operating officer. “Right now we don’t have a target to return the well to flow.”Allen said more work was needed to better understand why pressure readings from the well cap were lower than expected. There could be two reasons, he said: Either there’s less oil in the well because more has flowed out than previously thought, or oil is leaking out underground.“While we are pleased that no oil is currently being released into the Gulf of Mexico and want to take all appropriate action to keep it that way, it is important that all decisions are driven by the science,” Allen said. (AP)