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BP Has Finished Pouring Cement Into Blown-Out Well, Thad Allen Tells NPR

BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill National Incident Commander Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen.
BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill National Incident Commander Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen.

According to National Incident Commander Thad Allen, BP has finished pumping cement into the top of the blow-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an interview with NPR's Melissa Block, Allen said that the company is now pouring fluid on top of the cement. That will form a liquid buffer between it and a layer of drilling mud.

In a process called "squeezing," the company will compress the three layers accelerating the rate at which the cement cures.

According to Allen, in about 24 hours, that procedure should be finished.

In about a week, when two relief wells are finished, BP will be able to pump more cement into the well, to ensure that the drill pipe and casing are completely covered.

"It's a complicated process, but I can tell you it's been very, very deliberate," he said.

Asked to gauge his confidence, Allen said he will "hold off any final declaration that this well is dead."

I know there's a lot of optimsim right now, that we will almost do this with the static kill, or maybe could do it, but it becomes more of an academic question to me, because given the uncertainties with the well itself, and what we've had to try and learn about it as we've done this, I've made a decision as the National Incident Commander that I won't declare this thing done until we've acutally finished the relief well.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.