Work not done in gulf, BP's Hayward says

Sept. 20, 2010 at 10:07 AM
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HOUSTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The commitment to restoring the Gulf of Mexico remains firm despite the completion of a sealing operation at the bottom of the ocean, a BP executive said.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who leads the federal response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, announced Sunday that relief operations to permanently "kill" the Macondo well were finished.

"Additional regulatory steps will be undertaken but we can now state, definitively, that the Macondo well poses no continuing threat to the Gulf of Mexico," he said.

A cascading series of malfunctions led the Macondo well to fail in April. The failure resulted in massive gas explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the worst accidental oil spill in the history of the industry.

British oil company BP, which owns the well, began the final cementing process at the site Friday. Pressure tests early Sunday confirmed the cement was holding and the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management pronounced the well dead at 5:54 a.m.

Outgoing BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said in a statement that the operation was an "important milestone" for his company.

"However, there is still more to be done. BP's commitment to complete our work and restore the damage done to the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Coast and the livelihoods of the people across the region remains unchanged," he said.

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