Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen says BP's cap is now slurping up about 1,000 barrels of oil per day, though technicians hope to increase that figure dramatically when they close a series of vents currently allowing the oil to escape:
A cap fitted over a ruptured Gulf of Mexico wellhead is capturing roughly 1,000 barrels of oil a day, a top US official said Friday.
Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the US government response to the spill, said the figure was a "rough total" of the amount being collected since remote-controlled submarines fitted the device late Thursday.
The current flow of oil gushing from the leak is estimated at between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels a day, so the amount is still small, Allen acknowledged Friday morning.
"Production is slowly moving up. It's around 1,000 barrels a day right now," said Allen. Workers are "slowly closing the vents and increasing the flow of oil."
One thousand barrels per day is likely far less than 5% of the true amount gushing from the well, so if closing the vents doesn't work, we'll be stuck with yet another BP failure. The fact that we have to wait another Hayward unit or two (apologies to Atrios) to find out does not inspire confidence, but let's hope they're finally doing something that will make the situation better.