BP will see its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well “completely sealed” today, the British energy giant said, plugging once and for all the runaway well that caused the largest maritime spill in history.
“It is expected that the MC252 well will be completely sealed on Saturday,” the company said in a statement.
US authorities had announced hours earlier that engineers intercepted the shaft with a relief well, through which they will now pump cement into and around the shaft in a “bottom kill” operation that has been months in the making.
“Once cementing operations are complete, the Development Driller 3 will begin standard plugging and abandonment procedures for the relief well,” BP said.
Following several delays and public debate over the necessity of the bottom kill operation after heavy drilling mud and cement were successfully rammed down the throat of the well from above, the relief well driller intercepted the BP shaft late Thursday, about four kilometres below the sea floor.
An estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed out of the well off the coast of Louisiana after it ruptured following an April 20 explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers.
It took 87 days to stem the flow of oil into the Gulf, and hundreds of kilometres of coastline from Texas to Florida were sullied, killing wildlife and devastating key local industries such as tourism and fishing.
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