BP says it will be 12 to 24 hours before it attempts to cap the gulf oil spill after successfully cutting the oil pipeline where the oil is spilling from.
BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward told a press conference said over the past 36 hours workers have cleared the riser from the top of the well head and are now completing a cleanup operation before attempting to put a cap on top of the well.
Mr Hayward said it was an "important miles stone but in a sense just a beginning."
"Over the next 2-3 days we will be endeavouring to optimise the system to stabilise the flow of the oil and gas onto the surface and take it away and process it," he said.
Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told reporters the cut was jagged so placing a cap over the gusher will now be more difficult.
"I don't think we'll know until the containment cap is seated on there," he said. "We'll have to wait and see."
Mr Hayward said BP he expected an attempt to place the cap over the oil spill in next couple of days.
"Our task is to contain the oil, ultimately to eliminate the leaking well, and most importantly to clean up all of the oil defend the shoreline and restore the shoreline where oil does come ashore such that we return it to its original state," he said.
"BP will be here for a very long time. We recognise this is just the beginning. We are going to be here a long time after the media is gone, the Coast Guard is gone, and everyone involved in the spill response is gone because our commitment is to work with the communities and societies of the Gulf Coast to give them back their livelihoods and way of life as fast as we can.
"We will be here until that task is complete," he said.
Meanwhile President Barack Obama announced he will return to the Louisiana coast on Friday to assess to assess the latest efforts to counter the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
It will be his third visit to the region since the April 20 disaster and his second visit in a week.
(C) NewsRoom America 2010