Today, an armada of deep-sea robots moved around a new containment cap as it was lowered onto the site. The cap, it is hoped, will form a tighter seal with the well and allow BP to capture all of the oil that is being released from the well.
"This certainly is an important day in the evolution of this response," National Incident Cmdr. Thad Allen told ABC's Diane Sawyer today. "If all goes according to plan, we could initiate a well test tomorrow morning that could tell us where we need to go from here."
Oil will continue to gush until the robots shut off three valves, a step that could happen by Tuesday. BP will conduct pressure tests for a 6-to-48 hour period before they know whether the new cap has been a success.
In preparation for this maneuver, the original, leaky cap was removed from the broken wellhead over the weekend, allowing 2.5 million gallons of oil to spew per day. Some fear that the new cap could buckle under the extreme pressures spewing out of the ocean floor and spawn new leaks in the pipe.
"This may actually work. We're hoping so," said Dr. Michio Kaku, author of "Physics of the Impossible." "But this is a science experiment at 5,000-feet of water. High pressure is the single reason why we're having so much difficulty, because the basic science of working at high pressure was not done years ago."
If all goes according to plan, the oil will be funneled to the Helix Producer, a ship that recently arrived at the site that could soon contain roughly a million gallons of oil per day.
Drilling of the relief wells that BP says offer a permanent fix to the leak could be completed by the end of the month, the company said. Though the relief wells are now 5 feet away from the target, it would take another few weeks to fill them with cement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.