British oil company BP announced Wednesday its containment efforts in the gulf reached a "significant milestone" when it succeeded with its static kill operation at the well. BP said a method that pumps heavy drilling mud into the well was controlling hydrostatic pressure on the well.
The company announced Thursday that it received approval to go ahead with a cementing procedure that would help kill and isolate the well to provide a permanent fix.
U.S. Coast Guard retired Adm. Thad Allen, national incident commander for the Deepwater Horizon response, announced late Wednesday that he was authorizing BP to cement the damaged well based on the successful completion of the static kill procedure.
"This job will not be complete until we finish the relief well and have pumped the mud in and cemented it from the bottom, or the bottom kill, if you will," he told reporters at the White House.
Allen said drilling teams were about 100 feet away from intersecting the well in the relief effort. BP estimates that it would finish the relief wells within a few weeks.
"And we have significantly improved our chances to finally kill the well with the relief wells when that does occur," added Allen.
A U.S. government panel found that the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest accidental spill in world history.