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BP to begin testing new oil well cap

BP will begin tests late Tuesday morning to see if a new, tighter-fitting cap attached to a gushing oil well has completely stanched the flow of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

It could take six to 48 hours to find out if the latest, 150,000-pound metal cap can withstand pressure from the escaping oil and seal off the well while BP drills relief wells that would permanently plug the oil site.

The company latched on the 18-foot-high cap Monday in the third of what could be a seven-day process.

"Things went extremely well," BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells told reporters Tuesday morning.

Now the company will test the cap by closing three separate valves and seeing if the cap chokes off the oil and blocks it from entering the Gulf.

That would build up pressure inside the cap and broken well head.

"Everybody hope and pray that we see high pressures here," Wells said.

In Washington, the Obama administration Monday issued a fresh moratorium on deep-water drilling.

About 6:30 p.m. local time Monday in the Gulf -- 7:30 p.m. in South Florida -- live video cameras trained on the wellhead showed the cap being slowly lowered into place, 11 hours after BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said the company was close to putting the seal in place.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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