Thursday, August 5, 2010

New York Times-BP Begins Pumping Cement Into Damaged Well

photo credit: Ghris Graythen/Getty Images
(Story reported by Clifford Krauss)

HOUSTON – For more than three months, an oil-weary nation has waited for the moment when engineers would begin pumping cement into BP’s runaway well, in hopes of plugging its flow for good

That moment arrived quietly on Thursday, with cement following the tons of mud already poured into the well in the operation called a static kill. Because no significant amount of oil has leaked since the well was tightly capped on July 15, the start of the cementing was almost anti-climactic. BP did not even hold its regular daily briefing, saying that Kent Wells, the senior vice president who usually explains the technical details to reporters, was traveling.
Television newscasts, for months fixated on the spectacle of oil gushing from the broken riser pipe on live underwater video, barely covered the transition.

The cement job should be completed by Friday, at which point “we can all breathe a little easier,” retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad W. Allen, who heads the federal spill response effort, told reporters at the government’s midday briefing. “This is not the end but it will virtually assure us there will be no chance of oil leaking into the environment.”
(click here to read the full story on the New York Times website)

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