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BP: Cap Collected Some 10,000 Barrels Of Oil From Gulf Spill

This still image from a live BP video shows the cap being lowered.

This still image from a live BP video shows the cap being lowered.

The head of British-based energy giant BP, Tony Hayward, said today that a new containment system has collected about 10,000 barrels of oil in the last 24 hours in the company's latest effort to contain an enormous leak from a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hayward said he thought the cap could capture "the majority, probably the vast majority," of the oil gushing from the well. U.S. officials earlier said the new cap-and-pipe system seemed to be working, but that it was only collecting a fraction of the estimated 19,000 barrels leaking into the ocean daily.

"In the first full 24-hour cycle yesterday, as they were bringing the production level up, they were able to bring up and produce 6,000 barrels of oil from the well," U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is overseeing work to contain the spill, told reporters on June 5.

"The goal is to continue that production and raise it up, and hopefully take the pressure off the well, and hopefully start to reduce the oil that is coming out through the vents."

Since the BP well ruptured 47 days ago, an estimated 20 million gallons of crude has fouled coastal areas of four southern U.S. states -- Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida -- in what has become the biggest U.S. oil disaster in history.

compiled from agency reports