In the latest setback in efforts to end the spill, pressure testing of the well was delayed after a hydraulic leak in the new cap prevented BP from fully closing it. The test was originally scheduled to start midday Tuesday but was pushed back to late Wednesday, and will now begin "as soon as we can," the company said.
Now that the sealing cap has been installed, all eyes turn to the well-integrity test, which BP is starting today. The test will involve completely "shutting in" the well so the full pressure of the oil gusher can be measured, giving the scientists and engineers a read on the structural stability of the piping that lines the 13,000-foot-long well.
Determining an oil spill's toll on wildlife is never an easy feat—and the challenging conditions of the current gulf spill make it all the more complicated. While most of the animals collected alive have been visibly covered in oil, the majority of those that have been found dead have had no oil visible on their bodies, making the cause of death difficult to ascertain.
The massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is already making history. The well has been hemorrhaging oil for more than two months and is without a doubt the largest offshore spill the U.S. has ever faced. Here's a numerical look at the magnitude of the disaster and the enormous response that has been staged.
The 'Avatar' director may be an expert in undersea robotics, but that's not the kind of knowledge that's needed to clean up the gulf.
The deep water of the ocean is the largest habitat on earth but it's also the least understood, making the effects of this deep-sea spill without precedent. As a result, scientists say, the impacts of this spill are likely to go far beyond oiled birds and dead sea turtles.
Kevin Costner has a machine that he says could help clean up the massive oil slick from the ongoing spill in the gulf. Developed with the help of his scientist brother, Dan Costner, the device uses centrifugal force to separate oil from water.
Yesterday, BP reported that it had successfully inserted a specially designed tube into the leaking riser pipe and had begun drawing some of the leaking oil and gas through a mile-long pipe up to a tanker on the surface.
BP's diagram of the riser insertion tube plan for containing the leaking oil. After reevaluating its options to contain the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon well, BP is abandoning—at least for now—plans to use to the "top hat" containment dome to curtail the spill.
We still don't know exactly how much oil has been spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, because there is no way to directly measure the flow.
The failure of BP's first containment dome has Gulf Coast residents despondent and BP engineers scrambling. Fortunately, officials from the beleaguered oil company have several other plans in the works to contain and ultimately stop the oil flow.