NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP says it's ahead of schedule as underwater
robots steadily assemble heavy metal pieces in what could be the most significant progress yet toward containing the Gulf oil spill.
BP is aiming for completion today of a new, tighter cap it hopes will allow the containment of all the gushing crude until relief wells are complete.
BP says the operation is still expected to last up to six more days as engineers evaluate the latest effort.
Meanwhile, the oil company says the cost of dealing with the oil spill has risen to $3.5 billion.
The oil company says that includes nearly $165 million paid to settle individual claims. BP said that by Saturday, it had received 105,000 claims and made more than 52,000 payments.
The company says it is still too early to estimate the final total of costs and compensation.
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