MIAMI - One of three leaks from the ruptured Gulf of Mexico undersea well owned by BP has been capped, but oil is still flowing out at a rate of 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 liters) per day, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday.
"Remotely operated vehicles cut off a section at the end of the riser pipe, which used to lead from the well to the rig, and capped it with a valve," NOAA said in a posting on its website.
"While this stopped one of the three leaks, oil continues to enter the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of approximately 5000 barrels per day," it added.
"We made good progress yesterday, including the cap on the drill pipe," BP spokesman John Curry wrote in an email, referring to shutting off one of the leaks.
BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles had said Tuesday that although the undersea repair work on the riser pipe was expected to plug one of the three leaks, "I don't believe that will change the total amount leaking."
U.S. authorities and BP are racing to try to contain a huge oil slick from the ruptured well that is threatening four Gulf coastal states.
(Reporting by Pascal Fletcher and Anna Driver; editing by Paul Simao)
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