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Date of Issue: July 18, 2010

BP: Leak halted, testing continues

BP announced at about 2 p.m. July 15 that it had stopped the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil well about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans.

Oil had been leaking from the well into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day since April 20, when an explosion occurred at the Deepwater Horizon rig. The blast killed 11 workers and set off a massive effort to stop the leak and contain the gushing oil.

A pressure test will continue over the weekend to determine whether the cap placed on the well is safe to leave in place until there is a permanent fix — which will be the completion of relief wells in August.

Meanwhile, removal of spilled oil by a fleet of boats and skimmer ships continues.

“It felt very good not to see any oil going into the Gulf of Mexico,” BP senior vice president Kent Wells said in a statement to the press July 15.

The spill, the largest in U.S. history, is about 350 miles northwest of the Tampa Bay area.

During a meeting at Bradenton Beach city hall July 16, Lt. John Cosby, who handles emergency operations for the city, said, “The oil update is — there is no oil headed this way. And the cap appears to be working.”