Cautious Optimism on BP's New Oil Spill Cap

Cross your fingers

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BP is implementing a plan to place a new cap on the broken well that has been spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico for almost three months. The old cap merely slowed the flow of oil, but BP hopes that this one could contain all of it by providing a full seal. The operation requires temporarily lifting the existing cap, however, which has increased the flow of oil. Here's what we're facing and the current status of the attempt.

  • BP Cites Good Progress So Far The Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton writes, "In a complicated subsea dance involving robots and hardware, BP made progress Sunday in its effort to install a new, secure cap on the gushing oil well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, but the company says that it is early in the week-long project and that the oil is spewing as skimmers try to capture the newly vigorous flow of crude. ... the maneuvers, which are being conducted in large part by robotic submarines a mile under the water's surface, are going smoothly partly because of a window of good weather and calm seas."
  • How BP Will Test the Cap The Wall Street Journal's Susan Daker reports, "Once the cap is installed, the company will perform a series of pressure tests to ascertain the wellbore's integrity, Mr. Suttles said. The pressure tests could take a minimum of 48 hours. ... High pressure would be positive news indicating the integrity of the well is good and that the cap is collecting all of the oil, Mr. Suttles said. Low pressure would indicate oil is escaping and the leak is not fully contained, he said. In that case, the company would have to rely on its containment ships to continue to produce oil from the well."
  • Battered Gulf Coast Residents Watch Warily The Associated Press' Tom Breen and Colleen Long write, "While the operation is under way, the previous cap had to be removed -- meaning all of the oil is escaping unfettered until the new cap can be installed. Still, the chance to capture all the oil was a welcome bit of news 83 days into the environmental and economic disaster that has fouled the Gulf and its fragile coastline. After more than two months of failed efforts, there remains a healthy dose of skepticism among those who live and work along the coast."
  • Coast Guard Optimistic The BBC reports, "Engineers have made 'significant progress' towards putting a new cap on the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, US Coast Guard commander Thad Allen has said. Admiral Allen, the commander overseeing the spill response, told US TV: 'This could lead to the shutting of the well.'"
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