BP To Continue Pressure Tests for Undersea Well

A pressure test of BP’s undersea well that has kept fresh oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico will be allowed to continue for another day, despite concerns about potential new problems near the well, the government official overseeing the spill response said Monday.

Late Sunday, the government ordered BP to step up monitoring of the well after "undetermined anomalies" were discovered on the seafloor nearby. The government’s top official in the Gulf response, retired Coast Guard admiral Thad W. Allen, said that government scientists had talked late Sunday with BP about a seep and the possible detection of methane around the well, New York Times reports.

BP shares, which have been rallying over the past three weeks, slipped 2.6 percent after the top U.S. government spill official said that engineers had detected seepage, raising fears of problems with the cap that stopped oil spewing into the water nearly three months after a rig explosion.

A BP spokesman said the seep was detected by its engineers but it was unclear whether the source was the blown-out well, adding that seeps were a natural phenomenon in the Gulf.

The company said in a statement that it had spent $3.95 billion so far on efforts to tackle the well and that it aimed to permanently kill the well in the first half of August, according to a report in Reuters.

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