National

Aug 9, 2010 8:41 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Cement plug has hardened; relief well to be completed

BP may have the blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico permanently sealed this week. Engineers plan to intersect the damaged well with a relief well that they're still drilling - 20 to 30 feet at a time.

Then they'll be able to pump mud and cement into the bottom of the busted well to completely seal it. Last week, thousands of gallons of mud and then cement were poured into the top of the busted well, through a cap that had been keeping the crude out of the water since July 15. BP says the cement cap poured on top of the oil hardened over the weekend, so engineers could begin digging the final 100 feet of the relief well again.

The government's point man, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, says there is virtually no chance the oil will leak again. An estimated 207 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off Louisiana on April 20, killing 11 workers.

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