Sunday, July 18, 2010


This would explain why the pressure isn't getting as high as expected on the cap and why officials are continuing the tests. If BP won't follow the plan and figure out a way to get the oil flowing to the surface and the pressure off the sea floor the government may have to step in. If seepage is occurring that means that keeping the pressure up will eventually cause a failure somewhere.

If they have to allow oil to flow into the gulf for a short period of time to allow for the fitting of the pipes needed to accommodate the pumping of oil to the surface, do it. Sure, it'll look bad and BP will catch some grief but they can't let the sea floor fail due to the increase in pressure.

"BP and the Obama administration offered significantly differing views Sunday on whether the capped Gulf of Mexico oil well will have to be reopened, a contradiction that may be an effort by the oil giant to avoid blame if crude starts spewing again.

Pilloried for nearly three months as it tried repeatedly to stop the leak, BP PLC capped the nearly mile-deep well Thursday and wants to keep it that way. The government's plan, however, is to eventually pipe oil to the surface, which would ease pressure on the fragile well but would require up to three more days of oil spilling into the Gulf.

"No one associated with this whole activity ... wants to see any more oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico," Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, said Sunday. "Right now we don't have a target to return the well to flow."

An administration official familiar with the spill oversight, however, told The Associated Press that a seep and possible methane were found near the busted oil well. The official spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because an announcement about the next steps had not been made yet.

The concern all along — since pressure readings on the cap weren't as high as expected — was a leak elsewhere in the wellbore, meaning the cap may have to be reopened to prevent the environmental disaster from becoming even worse and harder to fix.

The official, who would not clarify what is seeping near the well, also said BP is not complying with the government's demand for more monitoring."

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