World Waits as BP Tests New Well Cap

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The installation of a new cap for the Macondo went "extremely well" yesterday, BP told the New York Times. Now, the device will receive a series of integrity tests that could last from a few hours to two days.


What should you be watching for? BP wants to see high-pressure steadily build up under the cap. If they don't,  "BP engineers and government scientists will have compelling evidence that the well is damaged somewhere below the gulf floor, and oil and gas are leaking into the rock formation," writes the Washington Post's Joel Achenbach. That would mean that the flow of oil wouldn't be stanched until the completion of relief wells next month. 

"Everybody hope and pray that we see high pressures here," BP senior vice president Kent Wells  reportedly said in a Tuesday morning conference call.

Even under the best case scenario, the well blowout has already seriously damaged Gulf ecosystems. The low-end Department of Energy estimate is that more than 90 million gallons of oil have spilled into the gulf; other experts peg the flow much higher
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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