BP well test shows rising pressure so far: BP exec

By Kristen Hays

HOUSTON (BestGrowthStock) – BP PLC’s critical pressure test on its stricken Gulf of Mexico oil well shows no evidence of damage since the wellhead was sealed shut on Thursday, a company executive said on Friday.

Kent Wells, BP’s senior vice president of exploration and production, also said pressure continues to rise in the well as hoped, indicating early on that the well was intact and could withstand the pressure buildup.

“Right now we’re proceeding,” he said.

Wells also said drilling was expected to resume soon on a relief well intended to permanently plug and kill the leak.

He said underwater robots were scanning the sea floor for signs of oil leaks, which could happen if the undersea well is damaged, allowing hydrocarbons to seep out the sides and possibly breach the seabed while the wellhead is shut.

“We’ve seen no negative evidence of any breaching there,” Wells said.

He said drilling on the relief well, which was suspended pending the start of the test, will resume once BP finishes using sensors to ensure it’s on the right path to intercept and kill the leak about 13,000 feet under the sea floor.

Regarding the test:

* BP shut off all flow of oil into the ocean Thursday afternoon for the first time since the gusher burst in April to test well pressure. The shutoff was done with a new cap installed at the wellhead on Monday.

* The 48-hour test is intended to show whether the April 20 blowout damaged the piping and cement in the stricken well.

* High pressure will indicate the well is intact, which will help the relief well kill the leak because no oil and gas are seeping out, according to BP and U.S. officials.

* Low pressure would be a sign that the well is damaged with oil and gas possibly leaking out the sides with potential to breach the seabed. That could complicate the relief well’s mission.

* Wells said on Friday morning that pressure had surpassed 6,700 pounds per square inch. U.S. officials had said pressure lingering under 6,000 psi could signal a problem with the well. (Editing by Doina Chiacu)

BP well test shows rising pressure so far: BP exec