US government fears BP-capped oil well may be leaking (+ analysis); 50 die in Iraqi bombings; Pakistan and Afghanistan hammer out trade deal as US re-commits to pull-out; China becomes world's largest energy consumer; and more
Top of the Agenda: US Fears BP Oil Well Leakage
The US government is worried oil may be leaking (BBC) from the seabed near the damaged Gulf of Mexico oil well that BP capped last week. BP had hoped the cap could stay in place until relief wells stopped the leak altogether, but pressure readings within the well are lower than expected, meaning that some oil could be leaking undersea. The US official in charge of clean-up, Thad Allen, ordered BP to submit a plan to reopen the capped well if seepage is confirmed, and such a plan would aim to funnel oil to the surface. BP is concerned this process could take three days to start and allow tens of thousands of barrels of oil to resume spilling into the water.
In a statement Monday, Allen authorized BP to keep the cap on the well (AP) for another twenty-four hours.
Federal investigators are looking at whether better coordination (WSJ) between BP and Transocean might have prevented the spill.
On TIME.com, Bryan Walsh says the odd chain of events on testing the well cap indicates another split between BP and the government and raises the question of who is in charge.
The volume of oil that leaked may never be known if the well is not reopened, potentially allowing BP to evade liability (NYT).
Read US President Barack Obama's remarks on the BP cap.
PACIFIC RIM: China Surpasses US Energy Consumption
The International Energy Agency says China has surpassed the United States as the world's biggest energy consumer (WSJ), consuming 4 percent more oil than the United States last year.
ASEAN: Tension on the Korean peninsula, elections in military-ruled Burma, and the question of nuclear arms development in that country will dominate the meeting of Asian foreign ministers (Reuters) this week in Vietnam.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org