Oil cap test stops raging gusher of crude on BP live video feed

the sign at a BP gas station showing gas prices

The oil cap test on the ruptured well stopped the flow from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 for the first time Thursday since the disaster began 87 days before. Future Atlas/Flickr photo.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 stopped gushing Thursday, at least temporarily, for the first time in 87 days. The BP live video feed showed no oil erupting from the ruptured well after BP began testing a massive oil spill cap designed to divert the flow to the surface. The oil cap test  is expected to last up to 48 hours before it can be determined successful. As soon as news of the oil spill cap test broke, BP’s stock price jumped.

Oil cap test chokes off raging gusher

The oil cap test had been plagued by delays since the cap was put into place Monday (see video below). ABC News reports that the first delay came from government officials requesting a more detailed analysis of the condition of the well out of fears that the oil spill cap could damage the well further and do more harm than good. After that 24-hour delay, the test began but was delayed again when a leak was discovered in a critical choke line. The oil cap test resumed Thursday morning. At 3:25 p.m. ET the BP live video feed showed no oil at the site where massive brown plumes had been billowing into the Gulf since the disaster began in April. Almost immediately, BP stock began to rise. The stock rose $2.74 a share, more than 7 percent, to close at $38.92. Earlier this month, BP stock traded below $30 a share.

Oil spill cap pressure test in progress

If the oil spill cap holds, the plan is to leave it in place to check the BP oil spill until a relief well can plug the blown out well in August. MSNBC.com reports that once the oil spill cap was in place, BP slowly dialed down the flow of the gusher as part of a pressure test. Engineers are now monitoring the pressure to see if the busted well holds. The interruption of the flow came 85 days, 16 hours and 25 minutes after the first report April 20 of an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers and triggered the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010. Government scientists estimate between 1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons of oil flowed into the Gulf every one of those days.

Is oil cap test beginning of the end?

The BP oil spill cap test could end after six hours if the results are disappointing. But it could go on for 48 hours. CNN reports that the longer the oil cap test lasts, the better the news will be. Scientists and engineers will monitor the pressure every six hours. If the pressure is too low it means that oil is escaping somewhere else in the breached well and the test will stop. If the pressure readings are sufficiently high, the valves on the oil spill cap could stay closed and be the beginning of the end to the catastrophe.

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