One mile beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, there may be light at the end of the oil spill tunnel.
BP has a new cap over the broken well that could seal off all the oil, and Tuesday is a day of critical tests.
BP engineers are ready to see if their new cap can stop the gushing oil.
Underwater robots successfully lowered the tight fitting-cap over the broken well Monday night.
“This is the elegant solution,” said Eric Smith, associate director of Tulane Energy Institute.
“This is the right equipment. All of the other top hats and everything have been sort of jury-rigged solutions.”
In six to 48 hours BP expects to know whether this cap works.
During Tuesday’s tests engineers will slowly close three separate valves to choke off the oil.
They’ll be keeping a close eye on the pressure. If it rises the well is sealed, but if it falls that could indicate another leak somewhere else in the well.
Then BP may have to add yet another cap and once again focus on siphoning the oil up to surface ships.
Tara Mergener reports, “Washington’s point man for the spill says the government will pull the plug on the test if at any point it risks doing further damage. But from the White House to the Gulf Coast fingers are crossed this will finally stop the leak.”
"Boy I hope they know what they're doing,” said Jack Lavallet of Dauphin Island, Ala. “Boy I hope they succeed. Because if they fail, I don't know who comes in after them."
BP employees working at the well site are also eager for this cap to succeed.
"We won't see that oil,” said well site leader Mickey Fruge. “It's going to be a relief for us."
They’re pushing ahead with the two relief wells that BP will use to permanently plug the well in mid-August.
Meanwhile, restrictions have been eased on news coverage of safety zones around oil booms.
News organizations, including the Associated Press, argued being kept at least 65 feet away impeded their ability to cover the spill.
However, there will still be exceptions for safety and security concerns.