Gulf oil spill

By United Press International  |  July 13, 2010 at 8:50 AM
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VENICE, La., July 13 (UPI) -- Engineers installed a new device intended to cap the wrecked wellhead that has been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 12 weeks.

BP, the company that operated the Deepwater Horizon rig when it exploded April 20, said in a release that testing of the new device would begin Tuesday.

The announcement was decidedly low-key, stating "it is expected, although cannot be assured, that no oil will be released to the ocean for the duration of the test. This will not however be an indication that flow from the wellbore has been permanently stopped."

Emergency crews have been trying to shut off the well since the explosion on the rig killed 11 workers and led to millions of barrels of oil escaping into the gulf. Large sections of the region have been closed to fishing and oil has fouled shorelines from Texas to Florida, threatening ecologically sensitive wetlands and wildlife.

Even if the cap seals the pipe -- BP said it should know by Thursday how successful the attempt has been -- there is still the cleanup of the oil that spewed out over the 85-day period since the explosion.

Thousands of ships on the surface are being utilized to corral or skim oil. There have also been controlled burns of floating oil. Crews on the land worked to clean shorelines of oil and rescue affected birds and animals.

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