Adm Thad Allen says leaking close to BP oil well perhaps not connected to oil well itself (photos, video)
Three locations have shown up as anomalies, while a pressure test was being carried out and the BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was being capped.
Adm Allen, the government’s point man on the spill, showed press what the areas of concern were, but said that the leak was not connected to BP oil well integrity test.
He said that oil and gas leaks often occur in nature and it may have been impossible to have detected other seepage close by when the oil was spewing out in full force.
Close to the well head is another area for concern, reported the BBC and the third area is the cap itself where bubbles of gas and small amounts of oil are leaking out, says the Associated Press
Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for the White House confirmed those gas bubbles at the head of the well.
“There are bubbles that are visible on the underwater camera, which we continue to monitor,” Mr Gibbs said.
Currently the pressure is 6,811 psi but it is rising at 1psi each hour and this is less than the reading desired which 8,000-9,000 psi.
Scientists are looking into this pressure, stated Adm Allen. It could have come about because the reservoir of oil may be becoming depleted.
This could also be a sign of a leak down below, says the Christian Science Monitor.
BP’s strategy is to keep the cap valves shut until the well is sealed permanently. This can be done over the next two weeks.
However, Adm Allen wants the relief well to be complete before the BP well gets plugged permanently.
“I’m not prepared to say the well is shut in until the relief well is done. There are too many uncertainties,” he stated.
The Obama administration has told BP to be prepared to immediately remove the machinery should the leak turn out to be methane.
“We had some concerns, I think as you heard over the past 24 hours, about commitments that BP had made. We did not feel that they were adequately living up to in terms of that monitoring,” stated Mr Gibbs on Monday.
“That was dealt with last night on a call that lasted late into the evening, where we believe that we’re getting the type of overall monitoring, particularly the seismic and the monitoring with remotely operated vehicles, so that we can look at each of these different steps.”
BP and Adm Allen went into depth on Monday about the option of using the new cap to undergo a “static kill” procedure. This would be like the “top kill” procedure BP had tried unsuccessfully a couple of months ago.
This “static kill” operation would mean sending heavy drilling mud down through the blowout preventer valve system and forcing cement into the BP oil well to seal it up, said the Washington Post.
But that procedure is not yet ready. “We’re still very much in the design and planning phase,” said senior BP vice president for exploration and production Kent Wells.
“We’ve got some real experienced teams working on this over the next couple of days.”
“At the end of the day, relief wells are still the ultimate solution,” he said, reports CNN.
The current pressure test on the well will continue into Tuesday.
San Francisco residents following the news on local channel KTVU were informed that the flow of oil was finally stopped Thursday afternoon. This was the first time the oil leak had been stopped since the 20 April blast occurred. It killed 11 workers.
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San Francisco residents can follow this and other news stories on local TV news station, KTVU.
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