Another Delay for BP Oil Spill Fix

It looks like it will be a bit longer before the BP oil spill is stopped. BP has again delayed testing of a new containment cap, after a leak was discovered on a line leading to a valve on the new device.

According to The New York Times, the leak will need to be repaired before testing can commence. It is not known how long that will take.

This is the second time that testing of the new, tighter-fitting cap has been delayed. Yesterday, the pressure testing was put off so engineers could conduct additional analysis of the sea floor, to ensure the integrity of the well. There were concerns that if the testing damaged the well, oil and gas might leak from the seafloor around the well rather than up through the well bore as it is now, The Times said.

It is hoped that once the testing is complete, the new cap will stop the flow of oil into the Gulf. If so, it would mark the first time since the April 11 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that the free flow of crude ceased.

Once the pressure testing finally begins, engineers will start to slowly close off valves on the containment cap. According to The Times, National Incident Commander Thad Allen, said the test results would provide crucial information about the well’s condition, and “would determine our confidence to shut the well in and understand we’re not harming the well bore.” The process could take up to 48 hours.

If the tests go well, the valves on the device could stay closed, finally stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf. If the tests show damage to the well, BP will try to stop the flow by increasing collection capacity, The Times said. But that could take several weeks.

Since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, the U.S. government estimates that between 90.4 and 178.6 million gallons of oil have spewed into the Gulf of Mexico.

In other news, BP is being given the cold shoulder by its partners in the Deepwater Horizon endeavor. According to a report on MarketWatch, the oil giant had billed Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Moex Offshore, a unit of Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., for reimbursement of nearly $400 million in expenses in fighting the spill a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Anadarko owns a 25 percent stake in the exploratory well, while Moex owns 10 percent. Under terms of a joint operating agreement for the well, BP is responsible to its co-owners for damages caused by its gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Neither company wants to pay up. Last week, Anadarko said it wouldn’t reimburse BP, blamed the oil company for the accident and asserted it was preventable.

According to MarketWatch, BP spokesman Mark Salt said Moex Offshore has recently “informed us … they are withholding payment for their share of the costs” related to the oil spill.

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