For the first time since April, the Deepwater Horizon well has been capped.
Kent Wells, a vice president at BP Plc, said at an afternoon news briefing that no crude was escaping from a 75-ton cap that had been lowered over the past few days. This is an interim solution, as more permanent relief wells will be drilled over the next few weeks to tap the subsea reservoir of oil and natural gas that had been gushing into the Gulf since April 20.
Drilling had stopped on relief wells for two days while the new cap was fitted. Engineers will be monitoring the cap over the next 48 hours to check pressure underneath. If a solid cap is placed above the well, and pressure falls, this might suggest that the oil is simply moving to another part of the underground reservoir, where it could burst forth in a new leak. If the well has a certain amount of integrity, then the well pressure will remain high under the cap, suggesting that the Gulf oil spill might finally be over.
Now comes the hard part: tabulating the damage.