Gulf Disaster

Oil Cap's Test Period Extended

The rising pressure readings in BP’s newly capped oil well are a good sign that another leak has not sprung. A BP official said the company is encouraged by the results, but said they’re being cautious. Pressure was at 6,745 pounds per square inch Saturday morning, rising 2 psi an hour. Spill overseer Thad Allen said a psi of 7,500 or more would be a good sign that nothing was spewing out of the wellhead. But even though there are no visible signs, it’s possible oil is leaking into surrounding rock or the water. The testing is being conducted in six-hour increments, with scientists analyzing the data at each break while closely watching the seabed for signs of leaks. Pressure levels are rising slowly, perhaps because so much oil spewed into the ocean for months, lowering the pressure in the reservoir.