The relief well that is supposed to finally stanch the oil flow from the Deepwater Horizon may be ready as early as July 27, BP is now telling the Wall Street Journal. That's weeks ahead of the mid-August schedule they’ve discussed until now, and just happens to be the day its second quarter earnings report comes out. At the Obama administration’s urgings, the oil giant is also developing a “backup to the backup plan,” in case things go wrong.
"In a perfect world with no interruptions, it's possible to be ready to stop the well between July 20 and July 27,” says the head of BP’s Gulf restoration unit, but he added that hurricane season and other complications would probably prevent such a rosy outcome. The company is also considering an improved well cap, and has created, at the administration’s urging, a new automated system for pumping chemical dispersants into the well.