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July 15, 2010

BP stops oil flow from Macondo well

No oil is leaking from the Macondo well into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since April 20.

Kent Wells, BP's senior vice president of exploration and production, told reporters at a technical briefing this afternoon that a new cap had completely shut in the flow while the company conducts pressure testing on the Deepwater Horizon site well.

"As you can imagine it felt very good not to see any oil going into the Gulf of Mexico," he said.

BP completely closed the last line on the newly installed containment cap at 2:25 p.m. today and will be monitoring pressure gauges to test the integrity of the well casing below the sea floor.

The well integrity test will last at least six hours and could last up to 48 hours. During the test, the three ram capping stack is closed, effectively shutting in the well and all sub-sea containment systems (namely, the Q4000 and Helix Producer systems) have been temporarily stopped.

Information gathered during the test will be reviewed with the relevant government agencies, including the federal science team, to determine next steps.

The sealing cap system never before has been deployed at these depths or under these conditions, and its efficiency and ability to contain the oil and gas cannot be assured, cautions BP.

During the well integrity test, operations on the first relief well have been temporarily stopped while the well was at 17,840 ft as a precaution.

Operations on the second relief well have been temporarily suspended at 15,874 feet to ensure that there is no interference with the first relief well. The relief wells remain the sole means to permanently seal and isolate the well.


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