BP halts pressure tests: Leak “ERUPTED while it was shutting off oil flow with a new containment cap”

BP Fixing New Cap Leak as It Prepares to Start Gulf Well Test, Bloomberg, July 15, 2010:

BP Plc said it will begin a pressure test of its gushing Gulf of Mexico well after fixing a leak that erupted while it was shutting off oil flow with a new containment cap. …

The delay was necessary to avoid an “irreversible mistake” because improper test procedures pose a risk of cracking the well casing and causing oil and natural gas to erupt from the seabed, Allen said during a press conference yesterday. BP now has two remotely operated robots monitoring the seabed, Wells said. …

Earlier in the day, Shell Oil’s former CEO John Hofmeister appeared on MSNBC to talk about the new cap and pressure test:

I think the fundamental issue… is there are serious concerns about the integrity of the casing that is the well itself.

And that by putting the cap on and doing the stress tests… that the integrity of the steel is insufficient to hold the pressure of the well.

And if you lose the casing its game over.

It’s like having a volcano on the bottom of the sea.

If you lose the casing and oil starts coming up on the outside of the casing you cant stop it.

There’s nothing you can do that would stop it…other than implode the well.

There are many in the industry that feel the casing must have been damaged because of the power of that well, the pressure of that reservoir.

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