BP will begin tests today on the new containment cap which it hopes will stop the flood of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil giant successfully installed the new cap yesterday and will halt its other containment systems – effectively shutting in the gushing well – while it tests the so-called “capping stack” for up to 48 hours.
The firm said: “It is expected, although cannot be assured, that no oil will be released to the ocean for the duration of the test.”
The new cap – which will be able to collect more than 50,000 barrels of oil a day – offers hopes of containing the spill for the first time since BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April, killing 11 workers.
Shares in BP have been hammered by the disaster but rose 9% yesterday amid speculation of a takeover by US rival ExxonMobil and hopes of progress on tackling the crisis.
But the firm also stressed that the relief wells currently being drilled miles beneath the seabed of the Gulf of Mexico were the only means of permanently sealing and isolating the damaged well.