Over the weekend BP plc began replacing the lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap over the Deepwater Horizon's failed blowout preventer with a new sealing cap assembly. On Monday COO Doug Suttles said the company expected to install the new cap later in the day.

The Discoverer Enterprise removed the LMRP cap at 12:40 PM CDT Saturday. Initial steps included the removal of six bolts along with the LMRP's flange. BP said the Q4000 containment system continues to capture oil and gas. The Helix Producer containment system is being commissioned to begin the collection of additional oil and gas, prior to ramping up containment operations, BP said.

Plans also are being developed for additional containment capacity and flexibility.

Work on the first relief well, which started May 2, continues. The well reached a measured depth of 17,810 feet on Sunday. The second relief well, which started May 16, is just below 16,000 feet and preparing to cement casing. The first half of August remains the estimate of the most likely period by which the first relief well will be completed and kill operations performed.

In other BP spill-related news, it was reported that the company was nearing asset sales and could also be a candidate for takeover by ExxonMobil Corp. (see related story).

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