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Test results from well not as good as hoped

marciadottin, [email protected]

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NEW ORLEANS – Pressure readings have been less than ideal from the new cap shutting oil into BP’s busted well, but the crude will remain locked in while engineers look for evidence of whether there is an undiscovered leak, the federal point man for the disaster said yesterday.Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said on a conference call that pressure readings from the cap had not reached the level that would show there were no new leaks in the well.Allen said BP’s test of the cap, which started 24 hours previously by shutting three valves and stopping the flow of oil into the water, would continue for at least six hours. It was scheduled to last up to 48 hours.He said the developments were “generally good news” but needed close monitoring.Allen said there were two possible reasons being debated by scientists on the project for why the pressure had not risen as high as desired: The reservoir that is the source of the oil could be depleting after a three-month spill, or there could be an undiscovered leak somewhere down in the well.“We don’t know because we don’t know the exact condition of the well bore,” Allen said.He said the test would go ahead for another six-hour period before being reassessed to see if BP needed to reopen the cap and go back to piping some of the oil to ships on the surface.If it were reopened, Allen said, “There’s no doubt there would be some discharge into the environment”.