We’ve come to the point where we’re pretty darn pessimistic about almost any supposed advancements in the BP oil spill saga – but as of yesterday, there seems to be some actual good news. According to Admiral Thad W. Allen, who is overseeing the federal response to the disaster, a key riser pipe at the Deepwater Horizon site was successfully cut yesterday, meaning that we are one crucial step closer to capping off and containing the leak. Not everything went smoothly though – read on to see what has officials worried about this still fragile, but momentous progress.

UPDATE: As of last night, technicians were able to go one step further and actually get the containment cap or “top hat” in place. On NBC’s Today Show this morning, BP’s chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, confirmed that oil has started flowing up the pipe from the cap, but that we would have to wait until later in the day to see how much is actually being diverted.

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Originally, the plan was to use a fine diamond-laced wire saw to execute the cut in order to make the edge as clean as possible. However, halfway through the procedure, the diamond saw was not able to complete its tast and officials decided to go ahead and use a 20 ft long and almost 10 ft high shear instead.

Because the shear was not as precise as the diamond-laced saw, the edge on the cut is more jagged than officials had hoped meaning that a containment cap will not be as snug and will have to be altered to fit.
“The next 12 to 24 hours will give us an indication of how successful the attempt will be,” said Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP at a press conference.

Via NY Times and NPR