Oil spill ceases, but will it last? - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Oil spill ceases, but will it last?

Posted by Elizabeth Stewart - email

(WFLX) - All the way from Clematis, by night to the White house, they were talking about it. "I think it's a positive step, we're still in the testing phase," said President Obama.

They are talking about the biggest news since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, the fact that the oil well is not leaking anymore. By morning, all three valves on a containment cap had been shut off, a sight that was 87 days in the making.

Now BP and the Coast Guard sit and wait. They wait to see whether the well is strong enough to keep those valves closed. "Once we're convinced we've done no pressure to the wellbore and it can withstand the pressure, after that 48 hours we can certainly consider shutting in the well. That's always a possibility and of course we would like to do that."

Engineers will be checking the well's pressure every six hours. High readings, around 9000 pounds per square inch, mean the well's holding up which is good news. But low readings, around 6000 per square inch, mean trouble. The cap test would have to stop.

"This is merely an intermediate step to contain the oil pending, then finishing the relief wells and plug." If all goes well, the focus will turn the clean-up effort.

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