Don’t get too excited now, this is only a test. The well has been temporarily sealed, successfully stopping the flow of oil. This provisional solution will allow tests to be conducted to determine the details of BP’s next plan to redirect and capture the oil. BBC covers:
It is the first time the flow has stopped since an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig on 20 April.
The well has been sealed with a cap as part of a test of its integrity that could last up to 48 hours.
BP executive Kent Wells said the oil had been stopped at 14:25 local time (1925 GMT) and he was “excited” by the progress.
“It is very good to see no oil go into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Mr Wells.
But BP is stressing that even if no oil escapes for 48 hours, that will not mean the flow of oil and gas has been stopped permanently.
The pressure testing is necessary to check the strength of the well. If the pressure within the cap on top is low, that could indicate oil is leaking out further down the well.
The US government’s incident commander, Adm Thad Allen, said even if it was successful, the well would be reopened and oil capture by ships on the surface would restart while a seismic test was done.
“We can go back then and put the system under pressure again. Once we are convinced we can certainly consider shutting in the well, that is always possible and we would certainly look to do that.”
But he emphasised that the option of shutting in the well – closing all the valves and stopping the flow – was a “side benefit” of the new capping stack.
The priority had always been to increase the amount of oil being captured and piped to the surface, he said.
Whatever happens will be a temporary solution, ahead of a relief well being used to permanently killing the original well with mud and cement.
Continued at BBC …