The ramping up of the Helix comes as BP is also trying to bolt a new and better fitting cap to the top of the blowout preventer.
The old cap, which was removed Saturday, was fitted atop the sawed-off stump of the riser pipe. Using remotely controlled robots, engineers will try to unbolt from the blowout preventer that stump of the riser pipe and in its place affix the new cap assembly, which weighs 100 tons and is 30 [sic] stories tall.
BP officials were hopeful that the cap could be in place as soon as Monday. If it works, the cap – along with the Helix and Q4000 – is expected to collect virtually all the oil leaking from the well, though trickles could still escape if the seal is not perfect.
With all these efforts set to succeed or fail in the next few days, this week is shaping up to be one of the most important since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank in late April. That’s partly because hurricane Alex is forcing BP’s hand.