Valve Leak Delays Test of New Cap

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2010 6:54 AM CDT
In this July 12, 2010 photo, an oil skimming vessel is seen at sunset nears on the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana.    (Patrick Semansky)
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(Newser) – BP engineers working to choke the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico found a leak on a line attached to the side of the new well cap and were trying to fix it this morning before attempting to stop the crude. BP said it had isolated the leak and was repairing it before moving forward. It wasn't clear how it would affect the timing of the operation, or whether oil continued to be slowly closed off into the cap.

Work started earlier yesterday after a day-long hiatus to allay government fears that the disaster could be made worse by going forward with the tests to determine whether the temporary cap can withstand the pressure and contain the oil. Deep-sea robots began slowly closing, one at a time, three openings in the cap that let oil pass through. The first two valves shut off like a light switch, while the third works more like a dimmer and takes longer to close off. The leak was found in the line attached to the dimmer switch, but live video footage showed that oil previously spewing from other sources on the cap remained closed off.

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