National

Aug 3, 2010 8:07 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

BP could begin capping operation today

BP engineers in the Gulf of Mexico want to start sealing up the blown-out oil well today, but first they're running a test.

They plan to probe the busted blowout preventer with an oil-like liquid to determine whether it can handle the sealing-up process, called a "static kill." If it can, then engineers plan to spend Tuesday through Thursday pumping heavy mud down the well.

Then they want to seal it up from the top end with concrete. The same thing would be done from the bottom of the well weeks later. BP officials are now saying that once the static kill is carried out, a pair of costly relief wells may not be needed to stop the leak for good. Each well can cost about $100 million.

Right now the only thing keeping oil from spilling into the Gulf again is a temporary cap that's held on for more than two weeks.

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