First time in three months:
BP stops Gulf oil flow
US: British energy giant BP stopped the oil flowing into the
Gulf of Mexico Thursday for the first time in three months as it began
key tests hoping to stem the spill for good.
Shortly after BP engineers shut down the last of three valves on a
giant new cap placed on the blown-out well at around 2:25 pm (1925 GMT),
senior vice president Kent Wells announced no oil was leaking into the
"I'm very excited to see no oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico,"
Wells told reporters, but cautioned it was only the start of a
painstaking testing process set to last 48 hours to analyze the
condition of the underground wellbore.
The announcement was the first sign of real hope for desperate
coastal residents who have had their livelihoods ravaged by the worst
environmental disaster in the nation's history, now in its 13th week.
Teeming fishing grounds have been closed and tourists have been
scared away - two vital economic lifelines for the southern region still
struggling to recover from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina.
Endangered wildlife has also been increasingly threatened by huge
ribbons of oil fouling the shores of five states - Texas, Louisiana,
Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
The costly, massive clean-up is likely to last years.
US President Barack Obama, whose administration has led pressure on
BP to stop the oil flow, welcomed the news of the capped well as "a
positive sign," but cautioned: "We're still in the testing phase." He
said he would address the issue again Friday.
BP's chief operating officer Doug Suttles also warned it was not yet
time to celebrate, saying more time was needed as the tests are
NEW ORLEANS, Friday, AFP