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July 20th, 2010
05:51 AM ET

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[cnn-photo-caption image=×234.jpg caption="Scientists look at whether to resume collecting oil from BP's ruptured deepwater well after a seep was detected in the Gulf of Mexico, the company said Monday."]

Gulf well tests held over another day

(CNN) – Tests on the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico will go on for another 24 hours as federal and company officials try to explain "anomalous" pressure readings and possible leaks, the federal government's point man on the spill said Monday.

"There is no indication at this time this is any indication of a significant problem in the well bore, but we are running every one of these anomalies down," former Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told reporters Monday afternoon.

The pressures recorded on the well in the four days since it was temporarily "shut in" are lower than expected, Allen said. Meanwhile, there are possible leaks of methane gas from around the well and from the inoperative blowout preventer, as well as a separate and possibly unrelated seep from the ocean floor about 3 kilometers (about 2 miles) away, he said.

Allen said scientists and engineers are still debating whether the low pressure is caused by either the well's depletion after three months of oil spewing into the Gulf or whether oil is leaking from the well into the surrounding sea floor.

"There are arguments to be made on both sides," he said. "But those discussions continue, and we're trying to develop information that will allow us to do that."

He said a joint in the capping stack placed over the damaged well appeared to be leaking a combination of oil and methane, but there appeared to be no sign that it was hindering the equipment now being used to contain the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Read more

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