BP is reporting early signs of success after starting its operation to permanently plug an underwater well in the Gulf of Mexico.
The so-called “static kill” operation is part of a strategy involving several steps that could take weeks.
Despite earlier delays over a hydraulics problem, BP cautiously went ahead after tests showed the well could withstand the procedure.
The full magnitude of the spill has now become apparent. Revised figures show 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked until the well was temporarily capped two weeks ago.
BP says it will pay for the damage to local businesses and for the clean up of the Gulf: those costs, plus the fines it faces, will run into billions.