NPR logo BP Must Complete Relief Well: Adm. Allen

BP Must Complete Relief Well: Adm. Allen

National Incident Commander Thad Allen, left, and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft at a news conference Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Patrick Semansky/AP

BP will have to finish it's relief well, after all, in order to fully seal its once runaway Gulf of Mexico well.

On Thursday, I reported that the decision to complete the relief well had already been made.  Turns out that was a little premature.

Adm. Thad Allen (ret.) who has managed the crisis for the Obama Administration, didn't make his final decision to order the completion of the relief well until Friday, despite some indications to the contrary.

BP and government engineers and scientists studied the results Friday of pressure tests on the well that was sealed earlier this month when cement was pumped downward into the well bore in an operation called a "static kill."

The testing was to determine if there were any leaks. There were.

So Allen has told BP to proceed with the completion of the relief well. That's the energy industry's textbook way to permanently plug a rogue well.

They essentially hit a bullet with a bullet, or more precisely, drill a well into a well, then pump cement into the bottom of the well, which explains why it's called a bottom kill.

NPR thanks our sponsors