Jul 16, 2010 9:20 AM by Sharlee Barriere
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP was encouraged early Friday by results
from an experimental cap shutting in oil from its busted Gulf of
Mexico well, saying everything was holding steady 17 hours into the
BP vice president Kent Wells said on a conference call that
there was no evidence of a leak in the pipe under the sea floor,
one of the main concerns. Wells spoke 17 hours after valves were
shut to trap oil inside the cap, a test that could last up to 48
He said pressure continued to rise inside the tight-fighting
cap, a sign that oil was gushing into it, instead of out through
any undiscovered cracks, and staying there.
As of Friday, the pressure was more than 6,700 pounds per square
inch, above the minimum they were hoping to see, but not yet in the
high range of 8,000 to 9,000 psi they were hoping for.
"The pressures we've seen so far are consistent with the
engineering analysis work that BP has done," Wells said. "It's
been a very steady build."
Wells also said work would resume on two relief wells, the oil
giant's more permanent solution meant to plug the well for good
underground to end one of the nation's worst environmental
That's also a good sign that things were going well. Engineers
had stopped drilling one of the wells Thursday in case that bore
hole deep underground could be affected by the oil cap effort.
Engineers and scientists continue to monitor the cap's pressure.
Wells said two undersea robots were combing the sea bed, looking
for any trace of oil or problems on the floor.
It's still unclear whether the well cap will need to be reopened
to allow oil to leak back after the test.
BP finally stopped oil from spewing into the sea Thursday, for
the first time since an April 20 explosion on the BP-leased
Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and unleashed the spill
5,000 feet beneath the water's surface.
But the cap is a temporary measure. Even if it holds, BP needs
to plug the gusher with cement and mud deep underground, where the
seal will hold more permanently than any cap from above could.
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