A crucial test that could set the stage for permanently sealing the worst ever accidental oil spill in marine waters could take place Tuesday, BP officials said.
The "injectivity" test, which will determine if oil from BP's ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico can be forced back down into the reservoir, was initially scheduled for Monday but was delayed because of a small leak, BP said.
Also Tuesday, company officials said, BP may conduct the "static kill" operation, one of two efforts planned to cap the leaking well once and for all.
"During final preparations to commence with the injectivity test, a small hydraulic leak was discovered in the capping stack hydraulic control system," BP said in a statement. The injectivity test will be rescheduled until the leak is repaired.
In the test, "base oil" will be pumped into the ruptured well bore to determine if it will go back into the reservoir, said Kent Wells, BP's senior vice president. The test will start with pumping one barrel per minute, then two, then three. How much is pumped will depend on how the test goes, Wells said. He added the test is meant to help officials decide whether adjustments need to be made on "how and if" the static kill will proceed.
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