A top BP official said Tuesday that the oil company has equipment in place to begin diagnostic testing for a maneuver called a "top kill" that could be implemented as early as the following day to stop the gushing of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
BP plans a high-pressure injection of thick, viscous fluid twice the density of water into the site of the leak to stop the flow so the well can then be sealed with cement.
BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells told reporters that the 12-hour diagnostic tests will determine how the oil company moves forward.
"Normally you'd spend months to do what we've done in days and weeks," Well said.
BP CEO Tony Hayward has said the "top kill" maneuver has a 60 to 70 percent chance of success when it is put in place.
The procedure has worked on above-ground oil wells in the Middle East, but has never been tested 5,000 feet underwater. All of BP's previous attempts to cap the Gulf spill have failed.