For the first time since the blowout tragedy nearly three months ago, BP declared that there are no oil from the Deepwater Horizon well is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. The well has been fully closed around 15:25 p.m. PDT, marking the start of a critically important test of the well’s integrity but not necessarily the end of the spill, BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells told reporters at an afternoon briefing.
However, the total sealing of the well is just only a temporary measure while the oil company conducting tests of the well’s integrity to determine if the pipes under the surface of the sea floor are strong enough to control the seal to stay in place.
According to Wells, the company is working with a team of industry and government experts every 6 hours in assessing the results and deciding whether the test should continue. If the test is halted, the containment operations with a capability to funnel at least 22,500 barrels of oil per day to the surface would resume, and BP says it would eventually, over the next few weeks, have the capacity to collect all or most of the flow from an estimated volume at 35,000 to 60,000 barrels per day.
“As you can imagine, it felt very good not to see any oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico,” Wells said, citing that the test will be a success no matter what the result. Even if it shows that the well casing has been compromised, it will provide a much-needed assessment of the integrity of the well. “We need to have the test move forward, we need to learn from it and make the right decision [as to future containment operations].”What I’m trying to do is maintain my emotions. Remember, this is the start of our test.”