| GEO Business|
| US gives green light for BP oil well test|
| Updated at: 0233 PST, Thursday, July 15, 2010|
NEW ORLEANS: BP received the green light Wednesday from the US government to begin a crucial test that could allow the leaking Gulf of Mexico oil well to be sealed once and for all.
After days of painstaking deliberations, Admiral Thad Allen said he gave the British energy giant the go-ahead after overcoming fears the test could lead to "irreversible leakage" below the seabed.
"At this time we will be releasing an order to BP to proceed with the well integrity test," said Allen, the former US Coast Guard chief leading the government's response to the 85-day disaster.
"This test will run for a maximum of 48 hours at which time we will stand down, assess where we're at, and assess the next steps."
Procedures leading up to the actual test, which included disconnecting the Q4000 and Helix Producer vessels, which were collecting oil from the wellhead, were already underway.
In addition, "over 40 ocean skimmers and other assets have been positioned around the wellhead" to help contain the additional oil, the joint command center said, vowing that containment efforts would resume as soon as testing was complete.