'Incredibly big concern' for ruptures, expert says of decision to delay work
HOUSTON — After a government review concluded that pressure tests of a new containment cap would not make the Gulf oil spill worse, BP on Wednesday started the process to begin testing — raising hopes once again that the flow could be stopped nearly three months after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.
Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president, said at a Wednesday evening news briefing that the valve on the top portion of the cap had been shut, meaning the oil had stopped pouring out from there. Live video of the cap a mile below the Gulf surface confirmed a significantly reduced flow.
The full "integrity test" will begin when the flow of oil stops coming out of the cap, a BP spokesman told NBC News.
On its Twitter feed Wednesday, BP reported a leak was detected and isolated in a pipe on the cap and the test won't begin until that is repaired.
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration's point man on the disaster, said the government gave the go-ahead after carefully reviewing the risks.
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