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Jul 14

BP delays new cap test to avoid inconclusive result

Main Image

Work continues at the site of the BP oil well spill in the Gulf of Mexico, in this image captured from a BP live video feed July 13, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/BP/Handout

By Kristen Hays

HOUSTON (Reuters) – BP Plc said on Wednesday a 24-hour delay in a key pressure test on a cap on its Gulf of Mexico wellhead was needed to reduce risks as it works to stop oil that has been spewing for months into the ocean.

While they waited for BP to start critical integrity tests originally scheduled for Tuesday, investors paused for breath as they watched to see how well the new cap worked to stop oil from leaking out of the burst Macondo well.

Kent Wells, senior vice president of exploration and production at BP, told reporters that scientists delayed the test to make sure it “was absolutely designed to maximize what we would learn from it and minimize any risk under all possible scenarios.”

“This test is so important that the decision was taken to give them another 24 hours to make sure that this was the best possible test procedure we could execute,” said Wells.

BP announced on Tuesday evening it had delayed the procedure after consultations with scientists and engineers from the industry, government and the oil company.

Wells said BP would look at the latest information around midday on Wednesday and decide if any changes are needed for the tests before moving forward.

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