BP completes 'static kill' on oil well

A "static kill" procedure to permanently plug a runaway oil well in the Gulf of Mexico has achieved the "desired outcome", BP says.

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A procedure to permanently plug a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico has achieved the "desired outcome," BP said this morning. "The well pressure is now being controlled by the hydrostatic pressure of the drilling mud, the desired outcome of the static kill procedure," the company said in a statement. The procedure involved pumping heavy drilling fluid, known in the trade as mud, into the busted well to push leaking crude oil back into its source rock. The apparent success came 106 days after a devastating explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20 unleashed the biggest oil spill in history. The 4.9 million barrel leak threatened the fish and wildlife-rich US Gulf coast with environmental ruin and plunged residents of coastal communities into months of anguish over their livelihoods and the region's future. BP pumped mud into the well for eight hours during the procedure and the well was now being monitored, it said. "The well is now being monitored, per the procedure, to ensure the well remains static," it said. "Further pumping of mud may or may not be required depending on the results observed during monitoring," the company said. It said it would continue to work with the US administration's pointman Thad Allen "to determine the next course of action, which includes assessing whether to inject cement into the well via the same route." * AFP