Eighty-five days and 184 million gallons later it seems that BP’s cap may finally shut down their well. It’s definitely a relief to know that the oil has ceased spilling into the Gulf, but BP is letting us know that they are not out of the woods – yet. According to BP there now begins a waiting period during which engineers will monitor pressure gauges, and watch for signs of leaks elsewhere in the well. The biggest risk: Pressure from the oil gushing out of the ground could fracture the well and make the leak even worse. Cracks and fissures already surround the damaged well area, and the well is sitting upon a very large bed of methane gas. The amount of pressure being exerted upon the cap and damaged well is quite high due to the methane gas that has mixed in with the oil. The two relief wells that are being installed are suppose to alleviate the pressure and allow BP to continue to capture the oil from their original well. The two relief wells will not go online until mid August. They are the permanent fix to ending the oil flow into the Gulf. BP and everyone else are hoping that the cap can hold until the new wells come on line. BP is cautiously optimistic that the next 48 hours will show that the cap can hold the pressure and keep the oil from flowing. The next 48 hours are critical according to the company. This is the first good news to come since this disaster began, especially if the cap does pass its 48-hour shake down period. If it can hold, it will finally provide a glimmer of hope to the Gulf and its residents.
Photo: BP Cap Photo Courtesy: BP