OSHA Compliance

BP begins steps on testing oil well with new cap

testing oil wellNow, with a new tight cap installed on the leaking well, BP has begun to proceed with the critical test to stop the oil from gushing out. This test would show whether it will finally end the gruesome disaster the world has been witnessing.

Earlier, BP had got the approval from the U.S. Government to proceed with the "integrity" test on the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico. The process of shutting off the valves on its new cap stack has already begun. Hopes are high to see the tests to show whether the well can be controlled which either can be done by closing the 30 ft, 75 ton cap stack or by siphoning off the oil to the surface.

This is perhaps the start to stopping the catastrophe which the world is eager to see end. Although, even if the well would be contained, the clean up operation would take years.

Shutting the well would be a great risk to take that might damage the well but this test is a stop-and-go process.

It involves closing 3 valves on the new cap while testing for pressure. High pressure reading means the leak is being stopped while low pressure would mean oil is leaking in other parts of the well.

In case the well is not shut off completely, an alternative way would be diverting the oil through the riser pipes to the ships on the surface. Currently the Helix Producer and Q4000 are the only vessels on the surface and it would take several weeks before more ships control all the flow. The test is going slowly but it hasn’t stopped.

It will be early to say anything about the success or failure of this integrity test. Hopefully, this will be the last step taken to control the well leak.

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