Gulf oil spill: No oil gushing from well for the first time since April
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For the first time in months, no oil is flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s troubled well.
BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said Thursday afternoon that the last of a series of valves on a cap atop the well was fully closed around 12:25 p.m. PDT, shutting off the flow.
The total seal is a temporary measure while BP tests the integrity of the well to determine if the pipes below the sea floor are in good enough shape to allow the seal to stay in place.
The test could also show that the well is too compromised to withstand the seal. In that case, the valves would be opened, releasing oil into the ocean again. BP would use a series of pipes and ships to suck up some -- and perhaps all -- of the leaking oil, estimated to be 60,000 barrels per day.
‘As you can imagine, it felt very good not to see any oil going into the Gulf of Mexico,’ said Wells, who has been a prominent face of the beleaguered oil company since the April 20 blowout of the Deepwater Horizon rig. ‘What I’m trying to do is maintain my emotions. Remember, this is the start of our test.’
-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta