BREAKING: Flow of Oil Halted for First Time Since April [Updated x4]

bp cap oil leak stopped photo

The oil leak has been stopped! (for now) Photo: BP
This Doesn't Mean We're Out of the Woods (Yet)
As announced earlier today, BP has started the pressure test on the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. While the test is running, the flow of oil is stopped, something that hasn't happened since April. Engineers are now monitoring the pressure coming out of the well; If it stays high, this means that the well is probably intact and has maintained its physical integrity despite all the SNAFUs. If it drops, there's probably another leak somewhere underground, making things much more complicated from now on. We'll have to wait a few more hours to find out which it is... And even if it worked, it's far from over (as Philippe Cousteau says). Read on for more details.

What's missing from this picture? Oil. Photo: BP
The stoppage came 85 days, 16 hours and 25 minutes after the first report April 20 of an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers and triggered the spill.

Between 95 million and 185 million gallons of crude oil have already spilled into the Gulf, according to government estimates.

Update: As of Friday morning at around 8:45 AM, BP says that "it is encouraged by results [of the pressure test] so far". Kent Wells, BP's vice president, says the pressure is good inside the new cap. But the tests aren't over...

The current test is scheduled to take place in 6-hour increments for 48 hours. Engineers are remotely monitoring the cap for pressure changes and watching for signs of leaks.

If all goes well, the tests could wrap up Saturday afternoon.

Update 2: The news on Saturday morning are rather good.

Officials on Saturday said that pressure readings in the well were rising steadily since the valves were closed on a cap at the top of the well on Thursday afternoon, an indication that the well was in good shape.

Rising pressure is a good sign, and falling pressure would indicate a new leak.

At this time the pressure is about 6, 745 PSI, and rising by 2 PSI per hour.

Update 3: The pressure test has been extended for 24 hours.

In a statement, Adm Allen said: "Based on the data and pressure readings compiled to date, the test has provided us with valuable information which will inform the procedure to kill the well and a better understanding of options for temporary shut-in during a hurricane.

"As we continue to see success in the temporary halt of oil from the leak, the US government and BP have agreed to allow the well integrity test to continue another 24 hours."

Update 4: For the latest news (as of Monday, July 19, 2010), check out: BP Continues Integrity Test for Extra 24 Hours, Possible Leak Detected

Via HuffPo, Discovery News
More on BP Oil Spill
BP's Anti-Leak Equipment was Leaking...
This Can't Be Good: BP Delays Pressure Tests and Stops Drilling Relief Well
BP Says New 'Top Hat' is About 150 Feet From Oil Leak
Could the Russian Mir Submersible Stop the Oil Leak?
BP Cleaning Up Less than 1% of the Oil it Promised the Feds

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