BP is to keep its ruptured well capped for now despite the detection of small amounts of leaking oil and gas.
Engineers have dismissed both those emissions plus a small seepage from the sea floor as inconsequential although the installation is being closely monitored.
But itis unclear how long the stopper will be left in place.
National Incident Commander Thad Allen:
“I’m not prepared to say that the well is shut in until the relief well is done. There is too much uncertainty between now and then. There are too many unanswered questions about the integrity of the well bore. There are too many detailed discussions that are going on right now.”
The US government is being cautious over the success of the capped well due to fears that too much pressure under the cap could cause irreversible damage beneath the sea bed.
But BP wants to avoid having to open the valve to siphon off the oil to the surface as the procedure would take three days, leaving oil gushing into the sea once again, polluting the US coastline.