BP Well Remains Sealed as Pressure Tests Continue

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July 16, 2010

imageImage courtesy BP via Reuters

BP’s blown-out gulf well remained sealed Friday morning, spewing not a drop of oil. But pressures in the well were still measuring at an ambiguous level that will require scientists and engineers to make a tough judgment call on whether to reopen the well.  

imageVessels work the late shift above BP’s Macondo wellhead, source of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, on Tuesday, one day after a new oil-containment cap had been fitted to the gushing pipe a mile (1.6 kilometers) below. Photograph by Dave Martin, AP

BP Spill Site, One Mile Up

Thursday afternoon BP announced the new cap had been fully sealed during a crucial "integrity test" and that oil had completely stopped leaking from the site for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank on April 20.

The welcome development comes after a roughly 24-hour delay, during which experts scrambled to allay U.S. government scientists’ fears that the test could further damage the well.

imagePilots worked in the ROV control station onboard Discoverer Inspiration in the Gulf of Mexico. Marc Morrison/BP, via European Pressphoto Agency

Pressure rising in cap at BP’s undersea well, a positive sign

Pressure was rising Friday as BP continued testing its breached Gulf of Mexico well with no evidence so far that other leaks exist, said BP’s Senior Vice President Kent Wells.

image Wells said pressure was up to 6,700 psi (pounds per square inch) inside the well’s capping stack. BP was looking for an optimal 8,000 psi, which would indicate that no oil was being forced out through a leak and that the well was undamaged and able to withstand the pressure of the cap.

Capped Well Is ‘Good News,’ But Disaster Is Far From Over, President Obama Says

image On the heels of BP’s announcement that it has stopped the flow of oil from its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico, as the energy company collects data on the well’s structural integrity, President Obama told Americans the disaster is far from over.

"We won’t be done until we actually know that we’ve killed the well, and that we have a permanent solution in place," he said. "We’re moving in that direction, but I don’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves."

Yesterday afternoon, the live video feed of the deep-water well looked markedly different: For the first time in several months, there was no longer a dynamic cloud of crude.

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