National

Jul 8, 2010 11:54 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Relief well running ahead of schedule

The leader of the oil spill relief effort says it's possible a well being drilled to contain the gusher in the Gulf could be completed ahead of schedule. But a lot of things would have to go right.

National Incident Commander Thad Allen said Thursday in Alabama that crews expect to reach the existing well and drill into its outer casing in seven to 10 days. If the oil is coming up through all the different rings of the well, then it will likely take until the middle of August to stanch the flow with mud and cement. If it's only coming up the well's center pipe, it could be sooner.

BP spokesman Scott Dean says late July has been suggested as an ideal completion time, but a single major storm is enough to cause delays. That's why the company is sticking with mid-August.

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