Gulf Oil Cap Latest

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 6:59am

As an entire region holds its breath to see what happens next, tiny bubbles drew extra scrutiny from teams monitoring the situation.

National Incident Commander Thad Allen said, "We do know that there is some seepage around the base of the blow out preventer in terms of gas bubbles that are coming up, and that's what we are focusing on right now, does not appear to be consequential."

But industry insiders urged caution.

John Hoffmeister, the former CEO of Shell Oil Company said, “If the well casing has been weakened and is breached will we see perpetual seepage come up through the outside wall between the well bore, which is the hole that was dug and the casing itself.”

Allen insists that's not the case so far and says seepage two miles away from the site doesn’t appear to be related to this well. So for now, the test will continue on the new containment cap with the possibility it could stay in place until the well is killed.

Late yesterday BP introduced a new idea for doing that…the static kill. Basically a new version of the top kill, pumping mud into the blow out preventer, which they say could work now with the cap on and lower pressures.

Senior Vice President of BP Kent Wells said, "In terms of static kill, this is in its infancy. We want to have a number of sessions going through all the procedures."

BP says if it works, it could kill the well sooner than relief wells now expected to be finished some time near the end of the month.

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