BP Begins Pumping Cement Into Well

BP started pumping cement into its runaway oil well in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday with the hope of sealing it for good. Adding cement is the next phase of a procedure known as a static kill, which began late Tuesday with the pumping of heavy drilling mud into the well. BP and government officials said Wednesday that it was working well and that there was no doubt that the static kill represented a major step in bringing the well under control. “We have reached a static position in the well that allows us to have high confidence that there will be no oil leaking into the environment,” Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is leading the federal spill response, told reporters at a White House briefing. “And we have significantly improved our chances to finally kill the well".The successful maneuver came almost four months after the well blew out, spewing nearly five million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico and killing 11 rig workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon platform on April 20. For nearly three months, engineers repeatedly failed in their attempts to cap or contain the spill, until they put a tight-fitting cap on the well three weeks ago. President Obama, in a speech to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. on Wednesday, hailed what he called “the welcome news.”