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BP says testing process on cap should begin 'soon'

 In this image taken from video provided by BP PLC at 18:01 CDT, oil flows from the broken well, center, as a new containment cap, left, hovers near t...
 Map shows the forecast location of oil
 In a photo made from video released by BP PLC, oil emerges from a cap placed on the broken wellhead at the former site of the Deepwater Horizon oil r...
 National Incident Commander Ret. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen updates reporters about the ongoing response efforts to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spi...
 In this July 12, 2010 photo, an oil skimming vessel is seen at sunset nears on the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana. (AP Photo/Patrick Sema...
 Vessels operate in the area of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the Gulf of Mexico, Tuesday, July 13, 2010. BP officials have placed a containment c...
 A pelican cleans its feathers while resting on oiled shrubs on Cat Island off the coast of Louisiana on Tuesday, July 13, 2010.  (AP Photo/Judi Botto...
 A tug boat pulling a barge passes vessels assisting in the Deepwater Horizon oil well leak on the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Tuesday,...
 The Discoverer Inspiration drilling platform operates in the area of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the Gulf of Mexico, Tuesday, July 13, 2010. BP...
 Vessels operate in the area of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the Gulf of Mexico, Tuesday, July 13, 2010. BP officials have placed a containment c...
 In a photo made from video provided by BP PLC, oil emerges from the damage wellhead Wednesday morning July 14, 2010 at 1:04 a.m. EDT in the Gulf of M...
 In this image taken from video provided by BP PLC at 17:21 CDT, oil has stopped flowing from the center valve as testing of the new 75-ton cap atop t...
 In this image taken from video provided by BP PLC at 17:04 CDT, oil has stopped flowing from the center valve as testing of the new 75-ton cap atop t...
 In this image taken from video provided by BP PLC at 21:17 CDT, testing of the new 75-ton cap, bottom center, atop the site of the Deepwater Horizon ...

Gulf Oil Spill

In this image taken from video provided by BP PLC at 18:01 CDT, oil flows from the broken well, center, as a new containment cap, left, hovers near t...

GULF OIL SPILL

Map shows the forecast location of oil

Gulf Oil Spill

In a photo made from video released by BP PLC, oil emerges from a cap placed on the broken wellhead at the former site of the Deepwater Horizon oil r...

Gulf Oil Spill

National Incident Commander Ret. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen updates reporters about the ongoing response efforts to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spi...

APTOPIX Gulf Oil Spill

In this July 12, 2010 photo, an oil skimming vessel is seen at sunset nears on the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana. (AP Photo/Patrick Sema...

Gulf Oil Spill

Vessels operate in the area of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the Gulf of Mexico, Tuesday, July 13, 2010. BP officials have placed a containment c...

Gulf Oil Spill

A pelican cleans its feathers while resting on oiled shrubs on Cat Island off the coast of Louisiana on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Judi Botto...

Gulf Oil Spill

A tug boat pulling a barge passes vessels assisting in the Deepwater Horizon oil well leak on the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Tuesday,...

APTOPIX Gulf Oil Spill

The Discoverer Inspiration drilling platform operates in the area of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the Gulf of Mexico, Tuesday, July 13, 2010. BP...

Gulf Oil Spill

Vessels operate in the area of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the Gulf of Mexico, Tuesday, July 13, 2010. BP officials have placed a containment c...

Gulf Oil SPill

In a photo made from video provided by BP PLC, oil emerges from the damage wellhead Wednesday morning July 14, 2010 at 1:04 a.m. EDT in the Gulf of M...

Gulf Oil Spill

In this image taken from video provided by BP PLC at 17:21 CDT, oil has stopped flowing from the center valve as testing of the new 75-ton cap atop t...

Gulf Oil Spill

In this image taken from video provided by BP PLC at 17:04 CDT, oil has stopped flowing from the center valve as testing of the new 75-ton cap atop t...

Gulf Oil Spill

In this image taken from video provided by BP PLC at 21:17 CDT, testing of the new 75-ton cap, bottom center, atop the site of the Deepwater Horizon ...

After fixing a leak on a cap designed to plug up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP engineers readied Thursday to see if the new top is enough to contain the flow.
Kent Wells, a BP vice president, said at a news briefing in Houston that the leak, which was discovered late Wednesday, was fixed by replacing the pipe called a "choke line" on the side of capping device. The work set back the testing process on the cap's capabilities.
The test will involve closing off all three openings in the cap to the Gulf, in theory stopping the oil leaking into the Gulf. BP will be monitoring pressure under the cap. High pressure is good, because it shows there's only a single leak. Low pressure could mean more leaks farther down in the well.
BP expects to keep the oil trapped in the cap for 48 hours before it decides if the approach is working.
The cap _ a 75-ton metal stack of lines and valves _ was lowered onto the well on Monday in hopes of either bottling up the oil inside the well machinery, or capturing it and funneling it to the surface.
Now that the new choke line is in place, BP has to start from a few steps back to resume the process of testing the cap's ability to shut off the flow of oil to the Gulf.
It has to once again stop the collection of oil from surface vessels, which resumed after the leak was discovered. For the tests, all the oil has to be trapped under the cap to measure how much pressure it generates.
Then, BP has to recheck equipment used in the test and move undersea robots that perform the work back into position. Wells was hesitant to give a firm timeframe for when the test could start, but expected it to be Monday, possibly late in the morning.
"Bear with us," he said.
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration's point man on the disaster, said a committee of scientists and engineers will monitor the results and assess every six hours, and end the test after 48 hours to evaluate the findings.
"I was gung-ho for this test and I remain gung-ho for this test," he said Wednesday.
If the cap works, it will enable BP to stop the oil from gushing into the sea, either by holding all the oil inside the well machinery like a stopper or, if the pressure is too great, channeling some through lines to as many as four collection ships.
Allen said the testing will also offer insight into the other, more permanent solution to the fix: two relief wells intended to plug the leak from deep underground. The mapping of the sea floor that was done to prepare for the well cap test and the pressure readings will also help them determine how much mud and cement will be needed to seal off the well.
Drill work was stopped on one relief well because it was not clear what effect the testing of the cap could have on it. Work on the other relief well had already been stopped according to plan.
The government estimates 1.5 million gallons to 2.5 million gallons (5.7 million liters to 9.5 million liters) are leaking every day.
The crisis began April 20 when the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 workers. In the 12 weeks since, an estimated 92 million gallons to 182 million gallons (350 million liters to 689 million liters) of oil have flowed into the Gulf.
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Online:
http://bit.ly/bwCXmR
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Weber reported from Houston. Associated Press writer Tom Breen in New Orleans contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-04-13 18:10 GMT+08:00