BP: well 'shut in', no oil leaking

BP says it has finally halted the geyser of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

After two days of delay, BP on Thursday started a critical test of a new fitting that at least temporarily has stopped the leak. The company announced that the well had been fully ``shut in'' at 3:25 p.m. -- meaning no oil was leaking from a blown-out well that has spewed nearly 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf over three months.

BP Vice President Kent Wells cautioned that this was only the begining of a test intended to assess whether its damaged well was strong enough to withstand the increased pressures created by 75-ton piece of plumbing designed to either siphon most of the crude to ships or even -- potentially -- shut off the flow altogether.

The tests, which were expected to last six to 48 hours, began after the company was forced to halt an earlier effort late Wednesday night to fix a leaky valve. A seeping seal on the ``choke line'' was discovered as BP was closing the last of three valves on a massive new ``stacking cap'' the company has placed on the raging well.

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