US orders BP to submit oil well cap release plan

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London, July 19 (ANI): The US government has ordered British Petroleum to submit a plan for reopening its capped well in the Gulf of Mexico amid concerns that oil may be seeping out.

"The plan would have to be implemented as soon as possible if this was confirmed," BBC quoted the US official in charge of cleaning up the oil spill, Admiral Thad Allen, as saying.

He also referred to "undetermined anomalies at the well head" and said that once the cap is released, oil would once again be funneled to the surface.

The well began leaking oil into the Gulf after BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on 20 April, killing 11 workers, and capsized two days later.

BP had hoped the cap could stay in place until relief wells stop the leak for good.

However, in a letter to BP chief managing director Bob Dudley, Admiral Allen demanded a written procedure for opening the choke valve.

"Given the current observations... including the detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head, monitoring of the seabed is of paramount importance...I direct you to provide me a written procedure for opening the choke valve as quickly as possible without damaging the well should hydrocarbon seepage near the well head be confirmed," he wrote.

The BP well has caused the worst oil spill in US history, leading to an economic and environmental disaster in five states along the Gulf Coast, hitting President Barack Obama's popularity and straining traditionally close ties with Britain.

British Prime Minister David Cameron would meet Obama in Washington on July 20,2010 and the row over British Petroleum is expected to be a key topic of discussion. (ANI)

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