BP Containment Cap Integrity Tests Delayed
BP has decided to temporarily delay the planned integrity test on the new containment cap that is now in place over the ruptured BP well. The reason given by BP is that they want to ensure that the testing procedures do not exacerbate the already horrific oil spill.
BP intends to sequentially close off valves to allow pressure to build in the well. This will allow BP and U.S. government officials to possibly determine whether there are other well leaks contributing to the oil spill that are not yet apparent.
High pressure readings of 8,000 to 9,000 PSI would be a good sign that the containment cap can effectively stop the oil spill leak. Lower pressures of 4,000 to 5,000 PSI over a period of six hours or so, however, might indicate that there are other undetected leaks. If this is the case, then siphoning and skimming ships will need to be an ongoing part of the oil spill containment and clean-up efforts.
Work on both BP relief wells have been suspended pending this pressure integrity test because of the possibility that the build-up in pressure on the ruptured well would cause part of the relief well to blow out. This would cause a further delay in completing the relief wells which are the only real solution to finally ending the BP oil spill.