Engineers will now monitor the well for 48 hours, in hopes that pressure does not blow a new leak.
BP Vice President Kent Wells downplayed his company’s accomplishment, warning that the problem has been only temporarily solved.
“I hope [Gulf residents] are encouraged there’s no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico. But we have to be careful. Depending on what the test shows us, we may need to open this well back up.”
If the cap holds, BP officials will start extracting oil from the pipe, and pump it on to containment ships at the ocean’s surface. If pressure tests indicate a new leak has formed, BP will need to remove the cap to avoid blowing an even larger leak.
BP engineers started building the 75-ton cap five days after the Deep Water Horizon Rig exploded, and finished it two days ago.
Government officials estimates that between 93.5 million and 184.3 million gallons of oil have spilled into the Gulf. They estimate that cleanup efforts could take years, if not decades to restore the Gulf of Mexico.