BP Pauses 'Top Kill' Oil Spill Effort: NYT : The Two-Way The New York Times is reporting that BP has had to temporarily halt the pumping of heavy mud into the well in its effort to stop oil and gas from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

BP Pauses 'Top Kill' Oil Spill Effort: NYT

Updated at 6:05 pm ET -- BP's Doug Suttles, chief operating officer, said that the company's Top Kill operation is "proceeding according to the plan we put in place."

At a news conference, Suttles acknowledged that BP's engineers had paused in their pumping of heavy mud into the well about a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico in their effort to stop the gusher of oil and gas into the ocean.

But he indicated that it was part of the plan since it was important to measure the pressures in various parts of the well and equipment to make sure the pumping was having the desired effect.

Engineers stopped pumping mud just before midnight and intend to resume pumping Thursday evening, said Suttles, BP America's chief operating officer.

The New York Times report cited below made it sound like the pumping was paused because too much of the drilling mud was escaping with the oil and gas. But Suttles clearly wanted to leave the impression that the stoppage was intended and not driven by any unexpected setbacks.

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BP has had to temporarily halt the pumping of heavy mud into its out-of-control oil well in its effort to stop oil and gas from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the New York Times is reporting.

A BP news conference is scheduled to start in a few minutes where the company's officials will no doubt be asked about this.

A few minutes ago, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander, about the NYT report. He said he hadn't received an update from BP and so couldn't respond.

An excerpt of the NYT story:

HOUSTON -- BP had to halt its ambitious effort to plug its stricken oil well in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday afternoon when engineers saw that too much of the drilling fluid they were injecting into the well was escaping along with the leaking crude oil.

A technician at the BP command center said that pumping of the fluid had to be stopped temporarily while engineers were revising their plans, and that the company hoped to resume pumping by midnight, if federal officials approved.

The technician, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters, said the problem was not seen as serious. "We're still quite optimistic," he said, but cautioned: "It is not assured and its not a done deal yet. All of this will require some time."