Tests To Determine If New Well Cap Will Halt Oil Flow

With the installation of a new cap on its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico progressing smoothly, BP prepared on Monday to conduct tests to determine whether the flow of oil escaping from the well could be halted completely. Doug Suttles, the company’s chief operating officer, said that once the new cap was connected, systems that have been collecting some of the escaping oil would be shut down and valves on the new cap would be closed to stop the flow. Pressure readings would then be taken to determine the condition of the well. If the tests show the pressure rising and holding — an indication that there was no significant damage along the length of the well bore, which extends 13,000 feet below the sea floor — the valves could remain closed, effectively ending the three-month gusher.