The AP reports the first deep-sea test of a state-of-the-art containment system for stopping an oil spill following BP's 2010 explosion is officially underway. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says the Houston-based Marine Well Containment company has developed a capping stack system that will be used on a test wellhead sitting 7,000 feet below the Gulf's surface. That's 2,000 feet deeper than the Deepwater Horizon.
Although no fluids will be released during the exercise, the new capping stack is reportedly capable of containing up to 4.2 million gallons of oil and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas a day. Regulators say the wellhead and capping stack will be pressurized to see how they handle the conditions that would be experienced in the event of a real oil spill.
The location of the test has not been disclosed. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says they plan to release more details about the exercise at a later date.