New Orleans—We could learn as early as today if BP's broken oil well is finally sealed. Yesterday, officials conducted tests on the well to determine if it's finally been shut off. Those results typically take 24 hours to come in, and Retired Admiral Thad Allen is holding a press conference this afternoon where we're expecting him to release those results.
If it turns out that the well is capped, it would be a pleasant surprise. Last month, workers conducted a static kill, which is typically just a temporary fix before the bottom kill can be done. But, it appears the static kill may have just done the job.
The static kill involves pumping in mud and cement to the well and then placing a cap on it. It's thought that some of the cement may have gone down into the reservoir and plugged the space between the inner piping and the outer casing, which is what engineers were hoping to do with the bottom kill.
So it appears the bottom kill method may not be needed at all....but if there's even the slightest chance that some oil could be escaping from that cap, officials say they'll go ahead with the bottom kill to ensure it's completely shut off.