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July 13th, 2010
05:58 AM ET

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New cap on ruptured oil well faces key tests

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) - BP plans to begin testing the new cap on its ruptured deepwater well Tuesday - a move that officials hope will be a step on the way to stopping oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

"This test involves closing one or more of the valves on the new cap for a period of time to allow BP to measure pressures in the well," retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said.

The process could take anywhere from six hours to two days, or longer if BP extends them.

Officials say several scenarios are possible: the cap could contain all the oil; the cap could contain some of the crude while ships on the water's surface collect the rest; or, under a worst-case scenario, there could be more damage to the well's casing, meaning that capping the well would not stop the oil from flowing.

Before testing began, some oil continued to gush from the upper section of the new, 18-foot, 150,000-pound cap.

Allen, who is leading the federal response to the environmental disaster, said Monday scientists will be checking the pressure inside the well, and then determining whether the cap is holding the oil in or if ships will need to continue siphoning oil.

A critical step is making sure there's no hydrate buildup, according to BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles. Read more

Sound off: We want to hear from you this morning. Add your comments to the LIVE Blog below and we'll read some of them on the show.

Filed under: American Morning • Top Stories
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Barbara

    No surprise.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:39 am |
  2. BP 911

    @MeLon – I don't work for BP but I might loose my job because of a political fight for the Dems, over a White House knee jerk reaction. Again, you can put all the blame on BP you want but they are the ones still standing here, paying my company who pays my salary, and the work out here is the most safe and coordinated that I've ever been a part of and I've been in the business 25 years. Yes, my jobs stands a chance of being in demand for my company if I go overseas, but when you go overseas, you have to hire so much national labor.

    I'm out here working trying to clean this up and fit in a solution, so how dare you call my post propaganda, I'm here, I see it, I hear it, and I live everyday!!!! But I do offer up, whatever you do for a living, the Person occupying the Oval Office shuts down your industry for 6mo, bam! You're done for 6 mo, which affects everything that ties to your industry or business.

    You don't like oil spilling, neither does anyone who works in the industry. I really don't know how most of America portrays the oil workers but I can promise you it is NOT "Black Gold" on Discovery channel and I think. John Roberts can tell you that, even with the small amount of time he spent out here. Most of us are very dedicated family men and women, who work out here for the money but also for the time off so that we can spend it with our families, and we get to spend more time with our kids than the average 9 to 5'er.

    We have people from 18 states on my vessel, 18 states as far reaching as California, Washington, Utah, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Virginia just to name a few that have to fly in. So it isn't just the Gulf Coast and the southern states, it reaches out much further for job loss.

    July 14, 2010 at 12:32 am |
  3. BP 911

    @ Michael – I want you to look into one our roustabouts face, whose wife just had twins, he's 25 years old. He's making $70k/year and tell him WHY he has to loose his job.

    I will get to go with my vessel if it goes overseas and make 15-20% more. I want to stay in my/our GOM and do what we do and EVERYONE did it well.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  4. BP 911

    You will find 4-5 men who made the decision to displace the riser, get them out of the business or in jail, don't care which. TOI had two big bosses onboard the Horizon – why didn't they stop it, the riser displacment?

    I just vacationed in Orange Beach, gave more money to causes down there becuase I care – all of us care. It's our GOM too. I've seen the sheen, I'm in it..

    BP is paying for it all, the other day on the radar screen it was 122 vessels out here. Trust? MMS cozy relationship? C'mon – but it's okay for Senators and Congressman to go on such trips, golf outings, hunts? Check your own glass houses before breaking others Mr Administration.

    Who do you think has pushed Safety and Technology in the past 25 years? The oil companies and drilling companies have and, in doing so, we've hurt or injured far less people than coal mining has or construction work for that matter.

    Not sure what you do Michael but the man in the Oval office just shut down your industry for 6 months – you're layed off. Now if you're in LA, you just got a double shot; not only are other jobs lost but there won't be anybody to afford other things as well. You will shut down Lafayette LA, Houma LA, Morgan City LA, New Orleans will take another huge hit, Houston a big hit but it's very deversified, but poor LA. So while I am upset about the fisherman not getting their money fast enough, they and some businesses have $20B to look at it soon. They set aside $100M for oil field workers – it won't last two months.

    1 oil rig worker needs: marketing guy to sell the rig, in town management, HR, insurance. The rig needs supplies and crew change – boat and crews to carry supplies, which have to be hauled to the dock and unloaded and organized. Pilots have to fly the crews out and helicopters have to be maintained. All rigs have catering staff, cook and clean the "hotel" and those groceries are usually purchased locally, hauled and delivered by locals. Most larger companies pay travel – airlines and local hotels the night before, crews eat dinner, local companies haul the flyers to the heliport.

    Bottom line – it is a much bigger picture than one worker or 60 who will, on average, loose their job as rigs leave the Gulf.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  5. MeLoN


    BP is obviously just here to spread their propaganda.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  6. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    @ B.P. 911 Take your plight to the people who have lost there lively hoods and the dead sea life and wild life do not expect pitty and forgiveness to be easy we do not trust you .

    July 13, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  7. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    @ B.P. 911 I agree that off shore oil drilling is the blood of our economy but being careless is no excuse the only people I deem as hero's in this event is the R.O.V. operators for there efforts to shut this deamon down .

    July 13, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  8. BP 911

    Where is Transocean the quiet church mouse? You haven't seen Steve Newman anywhere and with TOI having about $3M worth of BP contracts a DAY, you'd think he'd be more supportive. The BOP is owned by TOI, Transocean.

    BP has stood here, they have not run from the fight.

    July 13, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  9. ET

    The moratorium affects only 3% of the total oil production in the Gulf, it is not a blow at the entire offshore drilling industry, I support it 100% till we can make sure this doesn't happen again at these depths.

    July 13, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  10. BP 911

    For every job lost offshore, 2.3 will be lost onshore. 4 more rigs are leaving the GOM; Transocean Marianas – Nigeria, Discoverer Americas – Egypt, Ocean Confidence – to the Congo, and rumor of the Ensco 8502 to Alaska or Africa.

    I am on one of the vessels out here trying as hard as we can to cap this thing and get our LIFE back.

    I have one simple question for most of you people. How much did you worry what I did for a living the past 27 years? The answer is you didn't – because we did it safe and we did it right. A few bad decisions by a few people and you want to take my living away from me.

    The next time a plane crashes – shut down the air lines? Why have we not shut down coal mines?

    Why don't you Google products with oil? It might suprise you that one barrel of oil only produces 24.2 gallons of gas, the rest, all consumer products.

    July 13, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  11. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    @ Michael I feel the same way that B.O.P. is leaning and is top heavy I think they need to fill that well with mud and cement and seal it off before it falls over and snaps .

    July 13, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  12. Jane - WI

    If this new cap on the oil leak is successful,I wonder how long it will be before this White House takes credit for it? From what I can tell, BP has been working desperately on trying to find a solution, and the government has merely been a bystander. What the government should be focusing on is the clean up effort, and it took them an awful long time to get in gear for that or to accept help from other countries.

    It's amazing how quickly the media jumped all over President Bush for the government response to Katrina (despite it being something that the states were supposed to address) compared to the lengthy pass it gave to President Obama for the failures of the government and slow response to this leak. This happened in federal waters, so a federal response was even more appropriate than in dealing with Katrina.

    July 13, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  13. Jane - WI

    BP did not release the Lockerbie bomber. They might have lobbied for him to be released as part of a deal, but the ultimate decision to do the release is on the shoulders of the government of Great Britain (or Scotland or whatever country was holding him). It seems this "investigation" into BP's lobbying is merely another example of Democrats showboating and trying to milk the anti-BP sentiment as long as they can. If Democrats want to investigate the bomber's release, they should investigate the government that made the final decision to do so.

    July 13, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  14. MeLoN

    No drilling in the Gulf without safety procedures in place BEFORE drilling starts.

    If the Government wants a moratorium on drilling BP or the Government should support the workers that will be put out of work till it is lifted.

    July 13, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  15. Pauly

    The moratorium is necessary. It should include all exploratory rigs at all depths. All such rigs use the same BOP that failed on the Deepwater Horizon rig, It doesn't matter if a blowout happens at 165 ft, as w/ the Ixtoc 1 or at 5,000 ft, as w/ this one.

    Before this disaster, many warned of such a disaster. They happened before. The most recent being off the Australian coast last year. They said it would never happen in the Gulf, conveniently forgetting the Ixtoc 1. Strict regulations & oversight must be put in place before any more permits are allowed.

    July 13, 2010 at 8:09 am |
  16. Don Straub-Euclid, Ohio

    Finally, there is real hope that the oil leak will be stopped up. This is great news, considering the devastating effect the leak has had on the Gulf and the states of that region.
    Now, the question of the drilling moratorium still has to be dealt with. I hope that the administration will relent soon and allow drilling to resume at all depths.

    July 13, 2010 at 7:36 am |
  17. Pauly

    Once again – neither the flange or riser pipe can be replaced due to the extreme pressure from the gushing oil.

    Even if this cap is successful, it's not a permanent fix. The relief wells are still being put in place & will be used.

    What many have stated may be proven during the testing. That the casing of the well has been damaged. That would mean there is leaking at 18,000 ft, 15,000 ft under the ocean's floor. This cap would have to be discontinued to prevent further damage. It may also be a major hurdle for the relief wells.

    July 13, 2010 at 7:35 am |
  18. mike sey

    Don Newenhouse of the University of Texas asks why no-one believes that BP has been working methodically towards this new cap solution since Day 1. One of the big reasons is the crisis -a -minute media which expects instant and simple answers . It has spent most of its time seeking victims and villains and has done a terrible job covering the technical angle and a great job spreading confusion and fear.

    July 13, 2010 at 7:31 am |
  19. michael

    new cap may topple BOP which is listing on ocean floor – being in excess of 100 tons.

    once again – all that is necessary is/was to replace flange and broken riser.

    BP may be planning to return well to productivity and may stop relief wells

    July 13, 2010 at 6:59 am |
  20. ET

    It is incredible how you echo the notion that the new "containment cap" is attached and it is in an experimental phase, as if there has been any real change in the situation, when anyone can see in the live feeds that the "new cap" seeems to have been removed or if it is in fact in place the oil is still flowing freely.

    July 13, 2010 at 6:48 am |
  21. Muslim

    IRAN has offered to help in the capping efforts.

    IRAN has had to deal with Iraq when the Iraqis bombed Iranian oil facilities.

    July 13, 2010 at 6:32 am |
  22. Andrew Pillot

    It is so sad that with all the money these company make they they couldn't have a plan for such a thig like this the cap I dot it will work but that's what happen when money first and safety later

    July 13, 2010 at 6:20 am |
  23. MeLoN

    BP lobbied for the Lockerbie bomber to be released – so they could get a Libya oil contract? Are you serious? If that really happened the Government should seize BP and throw whatever BP officials that lobbied to release a mass murderer of Americans in prison for aiding and abetting and/or accessory after the fact. How insulting to the American people and the families of the innocent victims.

    July 13, 2010 at 6:12 am |
  24. MeLoN

    Good Morning CNN!

    Let's hope what BP is "semi-claiming" is true but take whatever they say with a grain (or pound) of salt. May the "cap" work – this time. PLEASE.

    July 13, 2010 at 6:03 am |