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July 15th, 2010
12:23 PM ET

BP replaces leaking line, back on track with critical tests

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) - BP replaced a leaking piece of equipment Thursday and hoped to resume procedures leading up to a vital well pressure test that could put an end to the oil that has been gushing into Gulf of Mexico for the last 12 weeks, said a top company official.

The "integrity" test is intended to measure pressure readings from inside the well. If the pressure readings are satisfactory, the valves on the new containment cap could remain closed, preventing oil from flowing into the sea.

BP was forced to suspend operations Wednesday after a leak was discovered in what is known as a choke line.

Senior Vice President Kent Wells told reporters Thursday the company was able to disconnect the leaking choke line and replace it.

Wells said BP hopes to go forward getting ready for integrity testing "sometime today."

BP was still able to collect oil while it was addressing the choke line problem, he said. In all, 12,800 barrels (537,600 gallons) had been collected Wednesday. Oil recovery had been suspended earlier in preparation for the testing.

A successful test could signal a beginning of an end to the catastrophe that began when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering the relentless oil spill.

Once the testing begins, scientists will monitor pressure levels inside the containment cap.

Low pressure readings would indicate that the integrity of the well bore has been compromised and oil is seeping out elsewhere. High pressure readings would mean that scientists will consider using the cap to shut in the well completely.

The testing will last up to 48 hours. A key question was whether shutting the well was worth the risk, or whether it might damage the well bore.

BP is drilling two relief wells, which are seen as the ultimate solution to the oil disaster. They are expected to be completed in August.

Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Carl Mawhinney

    Why doesn't BP fund money to help the pets that are also affected by this oil disaster by donating money to animal shelters?

    July 16, 2010 at 6:12 am |
  2. Edward Hilton jr

    I have not made a comment on BP and the oil spill until now, The Company invested billions into the containment and clean up for a disaster of this enormity to uphold the reputation of the company and it's investors. Granted, the media force there hand to act fast, but I don’t think people understood the degree of difficulty that it takes to deal with a blowout of this magnitude. The company handled this situation with an aggressiveness that you look for in a good strong Oil Company. And I can understand why people were upset, losing what they love, and work so hard for, to maintain a livelihood, but to do what they did in under 100 days is commendable. My hat goes off to BP and the government groups that are working so hard to save and preserve our cost lines.

    July 16, 2010 at 4:51 am |
  3. Yang Jin

    I think
    BP must think about the victim.

    Why does BP ignore the victim around coast?

    It is the problem.

    And I think it is Terror Attact
    BP might have a problem with insurance!

    with # 10 express computer in
    martin luther king jr library
    washington d.c
    July-15-2010 Thursday 4:01 pm

    July 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  4. shem

    they have done a good job

    July 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm |