Obama cautious on BP's oil leak breakthrough

President Barack Obama today said BP's breakthrough in temporarily stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico was "good news", but warned there was still lots to do.

Mr Obama said efforts would not stop until the leak - the worst in US history - was permanently stopped.



He warned that BP would "pay for the damage it has caused" and added caution over early hopes for the progress in capping the leak.



"The American people should take some heart that we're making progress," he said.



However, he said there was still "a big job to do".



"We won't be done until we know we have killed the well and have a permanent structure in place."



BP said last night that the leaking well had been sealed with a test cap that should stop crude oil spilling into the ocean for 48 hours.



However, the firm stressed that even if the test is successful it will not mean the flow of oil and gas has been stopped permanently.



It is hoped that should the flow of oil not be completely halted, the new cap will be able to contain around 80,000 barrels a day.



The news helped BP shares soar around 8% higher at one stage today, although wider stock market falls later pared the gains back.



The stock dipped below 300p at one stage last month - its lowest point since August 1996 - but has recovered to more than 400p amid signs that it is closer to tackling the crisis, which has so far cost more than 3.5 billion US dollars (£2.3 billion) in spillage and clean-up.



The disaster began when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers.



BP is vital to the UK not only as an employer but also a major taxpayer and contributor to pensions. Of every £7 paid into pensions from dividends £1 comes directly from BP, and last year it paid £5.8 billion in taxes.



This year BP is not paying a dividend for the first time since the Second World War, although it insists it is financially strong enough to tackle the spill.



The group paid out about 165 million dollars (£110 million) in claims to 52,000 businesses so far, although the intense political pressure on the oil giant eased after it set aside a 20 billion dollar (£13.2 billion) compensation fund to meet the costs of the disaster in June.



A BP spokeswoman said: "Information gathered during the test will be reviewed with the relevant government agencies, including the federal science team, to determine next steps.



"The sealing cap system never before has been deployed at these depths or under these conditions, and its efficiency and ability to contain the oil and gas cannot be assured."



The test will see whether the steel casing of the cap is sufficiently strong for the well to be shut off in the long term.



Relief wells being drilled miles beneath the seabed will be the only means of permanently sealing and isolating the damaged well. The first of the wells is expected to be finished by the end of the month.



It is thought more than four million barrels of oil have so far flowed into the Gulf.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most