Skip NavigationAn Official Website of the United States Government

Statement from National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen on Well Integrity Test

"Significant progress has been made on the capping stack installation. As a result of that progress, BP will perform a "Well Integrity Test" tomorrow morning. This test involves closing one or more of the valves on the new cap for a period of time to allow BP to measure pressures in the well.

It also requires that the Helix Producer and Q4000 collection systems be ramped down and placed in standby mode during the test. The measurements that will be taken during this test will provide valuable information about the condition of the well below the sea level and help determine whether or not it is possible to shut the well for a period of time, such as during a hurricane or bad weather, between now and when the relief wells are complete.

I have reviewed the protocols for this test, in consultation with the government science team. The test will likely last anywhere from 6-48 hours or more depending on the measurements that are observed. BP will be in regular contact with the government during the test, and the government will halt the test if the risks of doing further damage to the surrounding formation are significant.

Once the test has concluded, collection of the oil will resume."