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BP gets go ahead from government to start pressure test

Sealing the well with the cap has signified a monumental achievement in a nearly three-month environmental and economic crisis that is being pegged as the worst in the United States history.

BP Plc has got the go ahead from the federal government to pressure test the latest containment system that it has installed on the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico.

The drilling giant is in the process of fixing a leak that it identified in a "choke line" connected to the new 75-ton containment cap. Once the leak is plugged, the well integrity test will be undertaken.

Cautious government
The government had directed BP to delay the test by 24 hours to make sure that the company "got it right."

National Incident Commander Thad Allen, head of the federal oil-spill response team, said that the federal government has been very cautious while taking the monumental decision.

If the results of the BP's well test, which will be assessed every six hours, are positive, the new cap will be able to capture lion’s share of the 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil that is spewing into the sea everyday.

The government has first taken an ok from a panel of scientists and industry experts on whether the well could endure the massive pressure of oil and gas hastening from the reservoir deep below the seabed and then given a nod to BP to undertake the test.

An analysis of the seismic data from the area reveals that no crater would be created even if pressure inside the well rises phenomenally.

Robert Gibbs, the press secretary, termed the review as “a series of steps” that were being taken “in order to ensure that what we’re doing is being done out of an abundance of caution to do no harm.”

Test postponed
The test, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed and now will begin later on Wednesday. The pressure inside the well during the tests, which may last up to 48 hours, is expected to reach as much as 9,000 pounds per square inch.

If the results of the BP's well test, which will be assessed every six hours, are positive, the new cap will be able to capture lion’s share of the 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil that is spewing into the sea everyday.

In case the test fails, BP will resort to siphoning oil from well pipe on the sea floor to collection containers on the surface.

Sealing the well with the cap has signified a monumental achievement in a nearly three-month environmental and economic crisis that is being pegged as the worst in the United States history.

The leak began April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon rig drilling the well exploded.

BP had lost half of its market value due to the incident; however the share price has staged a rally, driven by the optimism that the company will be able to stem the rot.

The stock fell nearly 2 percent Wednesday to close at $36.18.