NEW ORLEANS — BP reported some glimmers of progress on Monday in its efforts to stem oil leaks from an undersea well off the Louisiana coast that have created what President Obama called a “potentially unprecedented environmental disaster.”
Bill Salvin, a company spokesman, said that crews had finished building a containment dome, a 4-story, 70-ton structure that the company plans to lower into place over one of the three leaks to catch the escaping oil and allow it to be pumped to the surface. The other two domes would be completed on Tuesday, Mr. Salvin said, and crews hoped to install all three domes by the weekend.
“That will essentially eliminate most of the issues you have with oil in the water,” he said.
The company was also preparing on Monday to try to install a shutoff valve at the site of one of the three leaks.
The efforts come as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the oil slick appeared to be drifting toward the Alabama and Florida coasts, including the Chandeleur Islands off Louisiana’s southern tip.
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