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Latest BP Oil Spill Fix Looks Promising, But Caution Urged

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So far so good on the latest BP oil spill fix. The company said today pressure testing on a new tighter fitting well cap is going well.

It did appear yesterday that an end to the spill could finally be in sight, when for the first time since the April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, BP shut off the flow of oil into the Gulf. Since that explosion, the U.S. government estimates that between 90.4 and 178.6 million gallons of oil have spewed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Valves on a new containment cap installed earlier this week were shut off yesterday, temporarily stopping the gusher. BP is now conducting pressure tests of the device that are expected to last about 48 hours.

While the start of the testing did raise some hope and excitement, BP and government officials were trying to temper those emotions with caution. If the tests show that pressure under the cap is low, that means oil coming up from the underground reservoir is escaping out of the pipe and seeping into underground rock formations, The Wall Street Journal said. If this happens, the oil could find its way up to the seabed and begin leaking into the Gulf. There are some doubts about the condition of the undersea well, so such a scenario is possible.

Perfect results from those tests could allow BP to completely stop the flow while it works to complete relief wells that will be used to permanently stop the spill. Good results – a more likely scenario – will enable BP to siphon all the oil from the well to ships on the surface in a controlled manner until the relief wells are completed. Those wells are expected to be finished between the end of July and mid-August.

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