BP announced that the installation of a new sealing cap over the leaking Gulf of Mexico well was going as planned, according to media reports.
The new cap system, as well as other measures, is expected to allow the recovery of 60,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil a day in two to three weeks, BP senior vice president Kent Wells said Saturday.
While the recovery system could contain all of the oil flowing from the damaged well, BP and the federal government place more faith in the ability of a relief well to stop the flow.
BP said Monday that the first half of August remains the "most likely date by which the first relief well will be completed and kill operations performed," according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that BP is in talks with U.S. independent oil and gas producer Apache Corp. on a deal worth as much as $10 billion that could include stakes in BP's Alaska operations.
Meanwhile, BP said the cost of its response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill had reached $3.5 billion. The company said almost 105,000 claims have been submitted and more than 52,000 payments have been made, totaling almost $165 million as of July 10.
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