Hopes for new containment cap are dashed in GulfS

Things are starting to look grim for the new cap that BP officials said they might use earlier this week to seal the still-gushing well in the Gulf. Their concern is that the cap might make the leak worse.

According to Reuters:

"The risk through all this process is that somehow (oil) flow escapes outside of the casing," BP chief operating officer of exploration and production Doug Suttles told CNN.

"That's something that we don't want to occur ... That's why it's so important that we get this test right."

Suttles said if BP and government officials believed the test could damage the well casing then "we might not proceed with the test." . . .

Hopes for new containment cap are dashed in Gulf If tests on the well progress as hoped, BP said no oil would spill out for the first time since a rig being drilled for BP by Transocean Ltd sank days after the April explosion.

During the tests, two smaller siphoning systems, including one brought online on Monday, will be turned off. But BP warned the outcome was uncertain since the system has never been tested at such depths.

If the cap put in place on Monday is not sealed, BP intends to contain all of the oil flow by mid-July by siphoning it off through pipes to ships at the surface.

One of the many problems with this cap is that it has to fit snugly onto a flange on the well casing - but unfortunately this flange is tilted. So the seal might not be perfect. Another issue is that even if the seal works, oil may already be leaking out through rocks and cracks in the ground.

No matter what happens, BP will continue siphoning off as much oil as possible.

via Reuters and Scientific American