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Concerns over capped well in the Gulf of Mexico

BP’s capping of the Deepwater Horizon oil well was completed on Thursday, with early results boding well. As part of a 48 hour test, the flow of leaking oil was steadily slowed to a stop, the first time oil has not been leaking since the 20th of April.

The spilled oil from the well has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 workers. All of BP’s attempts to stem the flow previously had resulted at best in reducing the amount of oil that was flowing into the sea.

Early results showed that the capped well was building pressure, a good sign. If the pressure increases it shows that the oil is not being forced into pockets under the sea floor or finding another way through to the surface. However, just this morning, concerns were raised as the pressure did not get up to expected levels, prompting fears that the oil was finding another way through the undersea bedrock.

Because of this latest development, the US government has asked BP to open the capped well as soon as possible, so oil can be collected at the surface. BP has confirmed that this process will take about three days to complete and during this time oil will leak uncontrollably into the Gulf again. BP had hoped to keep the cap in place until drilling on two relief wells was completed.

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