BP says tests delayed to determine if ruptures were in the “shallow or deep parts of the well”; Increasing its “monitoring of the seafloor by robot subs”

BP starts crucial pressure test on gushing oil well, Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2010:

But the test itself is risky business… much like a thumb in a hole-studded garden hose, the cap could force oil out of any cracks that might exist in the well.

That scenario, in turn, could cause oil to seep upward and begin gushing from the seabed, potentially turning the well into a ragged crater.

“That is the worst-case scenario,” said Iraj Ershaghi, a petroleum engineering expert at USC. “Nobody has the technology to handle that.” …

Such concerns were a key factor in the federal government’s decision Tuesday to delay the start of the test for 24 hours. Wells said in a Wednesday morning news briefing that experts wanted to use that time to consider whether leaks, if they existed, were in the shallow or deep parts of the well.

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