BP said yesterday that its new cap has stopped the oil that has gushed into the Gulf of Mexico for three months and hopes to keep it that way until a relief well can permanently seal the leak next month.

The energy giant, which cut off the flow of oil on Thursday when it began to test the structural integrity of its blown-out Macondo well, expressed growing confidence that the well was intact.

The worst oil spill in U.S. history has caused an economic and environmental disaster in five states along the Gulf Coast.


“Right now there is no target set to open the well back up to flow,” Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer, told reporters. “We’re hopeful that if the encouraging signs continue, we’ll be able to continue the integrity test all the way to the point that we get the well killed.”

“Clearly we don't want to reanimate flow into the Gulf if we don't have to,” Suttles said.

When BP choked off the gusher a mile under the ocean’s surface with a new, tighter-fitting containment cap, it was the first time oil has not spewed into the Gulf since an April 20 explosion on an offshore rig killed 11 workers and triggered the disaster.

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