BP Fixes Leak That Delayed Key Test of Oil Well Cap

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BP (BP) said Thursday it can now proceed with its plans for a crucial test of a cap on its busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. It delayed the test overnight because of a leak in the equipment on the seafloor.

The leak was in one of the lines attached to a valve in the capping device designed to cut off the flow of oil. BP installed the capping device on the well on Monday and started shutting a sequence of valves after approval from the U.S. government, which had delayed the tests over concerns that any complications could worsen matters.

BP said it replaced the leaking hose and would launch the pressure test later in the day, according to reports.

The British petroleum company has suffered repeated setbacks in its attempts to stop the oil gushing into the Gulf following the explosion of its Deapwater Horizon rig 12 weeks ago -- on April 20. The fatal explosion killed 11 of the crew and caused the biggest oil spill in U.S. history and an environmental disaster whose scale is yet to be fully understood.

Meanwhile, BP could be barred from getting new U.S. offshore oil and gas exploration leases for up to seven years, Reuters reports.

Adding to its worsening reputation, BP also confirmed on Thursday that in 2007 it lobbied the U.K. government to release a Libyan convicted of blowing up a U.S. jet, known as the Lockerbie Bomber.

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