After 87 days BP has – temporarily – contained the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico which had briefly threatened to bring down the company.
While the announcement is unlikely to bring much cheer to the beleaguered tourism industry along the south coast of the United States, the news does at least bring some respite.
As a 150,000 pound cap was placed over the wellhead, president Obama said: “I think it is a positive sign.
“We are still in the testing phase; I’ll have more to say on it tomorrow.”
BP confirmed testing was likely to take two days, during which time is was “highly likely” further oil would escape from the site.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal issued a statement expressing cautious optimism.
“It is too early to declare victory,” he said.
“Our battles don’t end even when the well is capped. Millions of gallons of oil are still in the Gulf and some estimates show that oil will continue to hit our shores for many more months or maybe even longer.”
Gulf of Mexico
Oil stopped flowing from the ruptured well early on Thursday afternoon, according to BP senior vice president Kent Wells.
“It felt very good to see no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico,” he explained.
Mr Wells added company officials are “obviously very encouraged” by the developments but warned they are “trying to maintain a strict focus”.
“I don’t want to create a false sense of excitement,” he added, “we want to move forward and make the right decisions.”
Despite the renewed optimism the leak may now be containable, BP has been attracting further negative headlines.
Just yesterday the British company refused to grant Florida a further $50 million grant to allow the state to promote its beaches.
The oil-giant has already given the state $25 million, a fund officials claim has now run dry.
In a perhaps more serious development, it has been reported Hillary Clinton is considering a request to examine whether BP lobbied the UK to try to secure the transfer of the Lockerbie bomber to Libya.
The US secretary of state is thought to be looking at the request from four senators who claim the firm pressed for the release in the hope of securing an offshore oil deal.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds last August.
BP has denied making any representations over his case.