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New cap may help with containing oil spill

The first hint of a nearing end to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was voiced Friday by Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, national incident commander in charge of cleanup efforts.

By July 15, a new, better cap might replace the present leaky cap on the broken well -- in theory picking up all or nearly all of the spewing oil, at least on an interim basis, he said.

Second, the relief well that officials are counting on to permanently seal the oil leak is seven to eight days ahead of its early-August schedule, although Allen wouldn't promise it would beat that schedule.

If the new cap works, it could in theory capture up to 80,000 barrels of oil a day. Current estimates of the spewing oil are 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day, so it all might be contained, Allen said.

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