By ALISON SIDER
BP said Thursday that it capped and plugged a containment dome
left on the sea floor during the Deepwater Horizon disaster,
thought to be the source of an oil sheen first spotted last
month on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil and gas company said it used remote-controlled
underwater vehicles to clamp down a 750-pound cap over the
dome's stovepipe and plugged four small connection ports on the
top and sides of the dome in a 26-hour operation that began
"Initial visual inspections of the cap and plugs have
observed no oil droplets emanating from any of the openings,"
the company said in a release, adding it would continue to
monitor the sheen by satellite for several days.
The US Coast Guard had directed BP and Transocean to
figure out where the oil sheen came from after samples of the
slick matched oil that gushed from the well after the Deepwater
Horizon rig exploded in 2010. The sheen was first reported by
BP on Sept. 16.
Last week, remote-controlled submarines combing the area
around the well and nearby wreckage spotted small drops of oil
coming from openings in the dome and determined they were the
cause of the sheen on the surface, BP said Thursday.
The 40-foot-tall dome was used in an attempt to stem the
flow of oil coming from BP's well after the 2010 Deepwater
Horizon spill. It was meant to collect oil and allow it to flow
to the surface, but the dome got clogged with ice
The flow of oil from the well was stopped in July of 2010, and
the dome now rests about 1,500 feet from BP's well on the sea
BP also said Thursday that it has inspected the well and two
nearby relief wells and confirmed that they aren't leaking. The
wells were permanently sealed in September 2010, and BP said
the most recent inspections were the third time the seal's
integrity has been confirmed.
The operation to plug the containment dome was observed by
representatives from the Coast Guard and federal regulatory
agencies, according to a news release from the federal
spill-response coordinator Thursday.
Dow Jones Newswires