BP has begun pumping heavy drilling mud into its blown out oil well hoping it will eventually permanently plug the world’s worst accidental marine oil spill.
The so called “Static kill” operation is part of a two- pronged strategy. Cement is expected to be added in via a relief well later this month which will completely kill and isolate the unstable deepwater gusher.
Despite earlier delays over an hydraulic leak, BP cautiously went ahead after tests showed the well could withstand the procedure.
Eleven men died in the explosion last April which triggered this long running environmental and economic disaster.
The full magnitude of the Gulf of Mexico spill has now become apparent after revised figures showed almost 5 million barrels of oil leaked until the well was temporarily capped two weeks ago.
BP says it will pay for the damage to local livelihoods and for the clean up of the gulf, but those costs plus the fines it faces for negligence run into billions.