SAN FRANCISCO(Dow Jones Newswires), July 15, 2010
BP said Thursday that no oil is flowing out of a broken well into the Gulf of Mexico as the company tests the well with a new cap it had placed on top of it.
BP is testing the ability of the well to withstand pressure and remain sealed, without oil leaking out. The test could take anywhere from six hours to two days, BP said.
"It's good not to see any oil going into the Gulf of Mexico. BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said during a teleconference. "I'm trying to maintain my emotions."
Wells cautioned that the test had just begun, at 2:25 p.m. Central time, and that there were still many milestones yet to reach before the company would be able to conclude that the cap could seal off the well and keep oil from flowing into the ocean, or alternatively, that the company would have to restart containment operations to collect oil from the well.
Wells emphasized that the purpose of the test is to find out how strong the well is. The company is hoping that the well is strong enough to keep oil sealed in underneath the cap. However, if the well isn't strong enough for that, the test should yield more detailed information about the well, Wells said.
"We'd all like the result that there's perfect integrity, but the purpose of the test is to see what the integrity is," Wells said.
Two containment vessels that have been collecting oil from the well have ceased operations, the company said.
The start of test has been eagerly awaited as BP has worked around the clock for three months to contain the spill, which has brought economic and environmental devastation to several coastal states. The test was originally scheduled to begin Tuesday but was delayed for further review and then by an equipment problem.
Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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