Feds: Oil Cap Can Stay Closed Despite Seep

Dispute on monitoring settled after testy letter from Thad Allen
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 19, 2010 7:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – The federal government said this morning BP can keep the cap shut tight on its busted Gulf of Mexico oil well for another day despite a seep in the sea floor after the company promised to watch closely for signs of new leaks underground, settling for the moment a rift between BP and the government. The Obama administration's point man for the spill, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said government scientists had gotten the answers they wanted about how BP is monitoring the seabed around the mile-deep well, which has stopped gushing oil into the water since the experimental cap was closed Thursday.

Late Sunday, Allen said a seep had been detected a distance from the busted oil well and demanded in a sharply worded letter that BP step up monitoring of the ocean floor. Allen didn't say what was coming from the seep. White House energy adviser Carol Browner told the CBS Early Show the seep was found less than two miles from the well site. The concern all along—since pressure readings on the cap weren't as high as expected—was a leak elsewhere in the well bore, meaning the cap may have to be reopened to prevent the environmental disaster from becoming even worse and harder to fix.

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