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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Natural Disaster

Jonathan Serrie

Atlanta, GA

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More Delays in Efforts to Cap Gulf Oil Well

July 14, 2010 - 7:52 AM | by: Jonathan Serrie

Tests on the integrity of a leaking oil well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico have been delayed.

Originally slated to begin yesterday, the tests would have involved closing valves on a new cap placed on the damaged wellhead to determine whether it could hold back the intense pressure of the oil, and whether any additional breaches in the well existed.

But after meeting with a team of scientists and oil industry experts late yesterday, National Incident Commander Thad Allen announced that additional analysis of the testing procedure was necessary before actually beginning the process. That analysis is expected to continue today.

In a press release, BP America issued this explanation:

“The sealing cap system, the Q4000 system, the flexible riser system, and the planned additional containment systems never before have been deployed at these depths or under these conditions, and their efficiency and ability to contain or flare the oil and gas cannot be assured.”

While experts continue to evaluate whether tests of the cap and well will work safely and effectively at a depth of 5,000 feet, officials say ships on the surface will increase efforts to contain oil that continues to spew out of the well.

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