News In Brief

BP: Gulf oil gusher is plugged, wait and see

Matt Berger Jul 15, 2010

A screengrab of the live video feed from 5,000 feet under the gulf of Mexico shows clear waters, for now.

BP said Thursday that it has stopped the flow of oil and natural gas from a broken oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. The company posted an update on its website saying that it “closed the choke valve” around 2:25 p.m. on Thursday. By late afternoon, the capped well remained shut with no oil flowing into the Gulf.

A live video feed from cameras perched more than 5,000 feet underwater showed clear water around the well for the first time since April, when the Deepwater Horizon deep water drilling rig operated for BP exploded and sunk, killing 11 crew members.

It’s still unknown exactly how much oil has spilled into the Gulf since then. We interviewed the NASA scientists who are monitoring the spill from space for an article and audio slideshow today. They estimate between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day are spilling into the Gulf.

Wait and see
While the news is optimistic, cleanup officials are still cautious. The company said it will test the cap for leaks over the next 48 hours and then study the results along side government agencies involved in the massive clean-up.

BP said in its statement that even if no more oil leaks during the next 48 hours, it will not be an indication that oil and gas flow from the well has been permanently stopped. “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.”

You can monitor the live video feeds for yourself on our BP Oil Spill update page, or click through to PBS on their embedded live video feed below.

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