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HOUSTON — BP's testing of a new cap has at least temporarily shut off the flow of oil, but the federal point man for the crisis said Thursday that the system is likely to be used not as a permanent cap on the well but as an improved siphon.
The fact that the cap was holding up under pressure tests led many to believe that the new system would keep the oil from flowing until a relief well is dug by mid-August to plug the well.
But National Incident Commander Thad Allen issued a statement later in the day, deeming it "likely" that "we will return to the containment process using this new stacking cap connected to the risers to attempt to collect up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day until the relief well is completed."