BP expects to have captured the majority of the oil gushing from its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico by the time President Obama next visits the region.
BP’s chief operating officer Doug Suttles said the flow should become a “relative trickle” by early next week.
A second pumping ship would aid the operation while a new containment cap which is being put together would be a better fit, he said. President Barack Obama is due to visit the area next week.
Suttles said BP believed the oil now washing up on the coast was spilled soon after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on 20 April and sank, killing 11 workers.
But while BP is capturing more oil from the blown-out well with every passing day, scientists on a team analysing the flow said earlier that the amount of crude still escaping into the Gulf of Mexico was considerably greater than that claimed by the US Government and the company.
Their assertions - combined with BP’s rush to build a bigger cap and its apparent difficulty in immediately processing all the oil being collected - have only added to the impression that BP and the government are still floundering in dealing with the catastrophe and may be misleading the public.
The cap that was put on the ruptured well last week collected about 2.8M.l of oil on Monday and funnelled it to a ship at the surface, said US Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the crisis.