BP to terminate “killed“ Gulf well next week

With the successful "static kill" of the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico, coupled with the near total disappearance of skimmable oil at the water's surface, the focus of the operations has shifted to efforts to deal with the hard boom and absorbent boom that were deployed when the gusher was in full flow.

According to environment experts this could turn into an environmental hazard in the event of a tropical storm and already some hard boom has washed into marshland.

BP chief operations officer Doug Suttles told reporters yesterday, "This same boom now becomes a risk and a hazard because it can create damage in the marshes, it can wash up on the roads, it can wrap around the docks."

Meanwhile, according to reports from Houston from where BP is supervising the well killing, the indications are all positive.

After the mudshot on Wednesday, cement was used on Thursday, and by yesterday the cement (the oil industry says it is not "concrete" because no sand, rocks or other aggregate are in the mix) had hardened in 5,000 feet of the well bore. Pressure tests are also positive.

The next step in the final termination of the well is expected to happen around next Friday, when a drill lowered into a relief well would intercept the well near its base. According to the plan additional cement will be fired into the outer ring or annulus of the well which would ensure that the well would not spring back to life.

That would be the final step in the well-kill process. The ''static kill'' poured mud and cement down the central casing and therefore there seems to be no need following the interception of the annulus and the plugging to make a final stab into the central 70-inch pipe at the well's base according to retired Adm Thad Allen, the national incident commander.