According to BP officials, the implementation of their latest containment seal at the Deepwater Horizon rig has been successful. That means that for the first time in months, no new oil is gushing into the Gulf.
BP still has to conduct pressure tests to make sure that the well bore is intact. That will take place over the next 48 hours, as engineers determine if there's sufficient pressure to prevent more oil and gas leaks from appearing on the ocean floor. BP execs seem cautiously optimistic about the process:
"Although it cannot be assured, it is expected that no oil will be released to the ocean during the test," BP said in a guarded statement announcing the start of the procedure. "Even if no oil is released during the test, this will not be an indication that oil and gas flow from the wellbore has been permanently stopped."
If the pressure tests fail, the seal will have to be removed, putting us right back where we started.
Fingers crossed, anyway. The good news is that for now, the problem is at least not getting any worse. [Washington Post]