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Statement by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen On Well Integrity Test

WASHINGTON - The federal science team has been closely overseeing BPs well integrity test with the goal of first doing no harm to the well. Based on the data and pressure readings compiled to date, the test has provided us with valuable information which will inform the procedure to kill the well and a better understanding of options for temporary shut in during a hurricane.

As we continue to see success in the temporary halt of oil from the leak, the US government and BP have agreed to allow the well integrity test to continue another 24 hours.

The government has ordered additional monitoring of the area while the test continues which includes doubling the seismic mapping runs over the well site. A NOAA sonar ship has also been brought to the site to assist in monitoring the entire sea floor area around the well. The ship will make regular passes around the well looking for any hydrocarbon release subsea, and both acoustic and visual monitoring of the area with ROVs will continue. The pressure in the capping stack continues to increase very slowly and we want to continue to monitor this progress.

When this test is eventually stopped, we will immediately return to containment, using the new, tighter sealing cap with both the Helix Producer and the Q4000. Additional collection capacity of up to 80,000 barrels per day is also being added in the coming days.

Progress also continues on the two relief wells the federal government has required BP to drill. The relief well remains the ultimate step in stopping the BP oil leak for good.

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