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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Kent Wells
Now that BP appears to have vanquished its ruptured well, authorities are turning their attention to gathering evidence from what could amount to a crime scene at the bottom of the sea.
Crew on dozens of ships in the Gulf of Mexico prepared to evacuate as a storm brewing in the Caribbean brought the effort to plug BP's ruptured oil well to a near standstill.
Tropical rainstorms moving toward the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday threatened to shut down undersea efforts to seal BP's ruptured well, interrupting work just as engineers get close to plugging the leak with mud and cement.
BP was encouraged Saturday as the final hours ticked away on a two-day trial run of a massive cap on its busted Gulf of Mexico well, saying there no signs of new leaks and oil was being kept out of the water.
The clock expired on BP's 48-hour observation period and the government added another day of critical monitoring. Scientists and engineers were optimistic that the well showed no obvious signs of leaks.
A tightly fitted cap was successfully keeping oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in three months, BP said Thursday.
BP was encouraged early Friday by results from an experimental cap shutting in oil from its busted Gulf of Mexico well, saying everything was holding steady 17 hours into the effort.
BP's work on capping the Gulf of Mexico gusher was frozen Wednesday after the federal government raised concerns the operation could put damaging pressure on the busted well that could make the leak worse.
Hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil are being allowed to spew into the fouled waters of the Gulf of Mexico while BP engineers prepare to install a new containment system they hope will catch it all in the coming days.
The first of two relief wells is expected to intercept BP PLC's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of July and the leak could be plugged by early to mid-August, a BP executive said Sunday.
BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said it's "really a possibility" that cement pumped in through the top went down into the reservoir, came back up and plugged the annulus, which is between the inner piping and the outer casing.
The two wells should hook up between Aug. 13 and Aug. 15, Wells said.