BP hopes to keep using its giant stopper to block oil from reaching the Gulf of Mexico until they plug the blown out well permanently. "Right now we don't have a target to return the well to flow," said COO Doug Suttles. Federal response commander Thad Allen outlined a different plan today, saying that after the test was complete, the cap would be hooked up through nearly a mile of pipes stretching to ships on the surface that will collect the oil. But that would mean oil would have to be released back into the Gulf for three days to release pressure from the well.
It wasn't immediately clear if the plan had changed, or if BP and the government disagreed about the next move. Allen will make the ultimate decision. Allen has extended the trial run to this afternoon, and could extend it again. Pressure in the well cap continues to rise, and scientists are still monitoring for any signs of a leak, but the news still seems to be good, Suttles said. And even though it has been only days since the oil was turned off, the naked eye could spot improvements on the water.