BP and the government are approaching the capped well from different directions. While the cap seems to be holding temporarily, the government notified BP that there seems to be a hydrocarbon release happening from the sea bed in an area not to far from the Deep Horizon Well. If the seep is confirmed, the government wants BP to reopen the well and start the oil flowing through pipes to surface ships. The problem with that scenario is that it would release more oil into the Gulf over a three-day period until the pipelines can be reactivated. BP does not want to open the cap since this is the first victory they can point to in over 84 days of oil spilling into the Gulf. The government does not want the pressure from the damaged well to push oil through the sediment back into the ocean. They fear that an unstable ocean floor bed will wreck further havoc within the Gulf, then a single well spilling oil for three days. An uneven, unstable sea floor that is allowing oil to seep into the ocean would be virtually impossible to stop. Fissures and cracks were already evident on the floor after the oil disaster took its toll. The government is being the prudent one at the moment, and BP has acknowledged that if they are ordered to re-open the cap they will do so. But, BP is hoping they can hang on until the two relief wells are in place. Part of the back and forth here is that the government is trying to ascertain the rate of oil that flowed out of the well. By getting a firm number, the government then would know exactly how many barrels of oil entered the Gulf. Which would then give them a hard number to put on a fine against BP. BP is trying to keep that number from emerging, hoping to keep doubt in the final numbers tallied against them. Either way, the cap does not seem to be holding due to the seepage the government is reporting, and unfortunately that means more oil will flow into the Gulf.
Picture: Oil Seeping From the Ocean Floor