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May 28, 2010 10:25 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

U.S. official: Flow of oil from spill has stopped

The flow of oil from the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico has stopped, the U.S. incident commander Admiral Thad Allen claimed Friday, but BP warned it would be a further 48 hours before it was known whether the "top kill" procedure had been successful.

The next 12 to 18 hours would be "very critical" in the effort to stop the gusher which has caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history, Allen said on ABC's Good Morning America show.

BP's CEO Tony Hayward told NBC's TODAY show that the top kill attempt, which involves shooting heavy drilling mud into the blown-out well 5,000 feet underwater, was "proceeding pretty well according to plan."

But the exec maintained that the procedure, which has never been attempted before so deep underwater, still had only a 60-70 percent chance of success, although some of the risks had been reduced.

"It will probably be another 48 hours before we know if we've met the success," Hayward added.

If the procedure works, BP will inject cement into the well to seal it permanently.

If the "top kill" attempt doesn't work, BP says it has a number of backup plans. Either way, crews will continue to drill two relief wells, considered the only surefire way to stop the leak

 

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