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Oil leak almost plugged

marciadottin, [email protected]

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NEW ORLEANS – Crews made key progress in plugging BP’s blown-out Gulf oil well yesterday as a report said much of the spilled crude was gone, twin victories that heartened leaders who have taken political heat but left some experts and Gulf Coast residents skeptical.BP PLC reported that mud forced down the well overnight was pushing the crude back down to its source for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off Louisiana on April 20, killing 11 workers.The effort was progressing, giving officials high confidence that no more oil would leak into the Gulf, retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the spill response, said at a news briefing in Washington. Crews that performed the so-called “static kill” overnight now must decide whether they should follow up by pumping cement down the broken wellhead. Officials won’t declare complete victory until they get into the well from the other end, and that won’t happen until later this month.“This job will not be complete until we finish the relief well and pump mud and cement in through the bottom,” Allen said.The upbeat news coincided with the release of a federal report yesterday indicating that only about a quarter of the spilled oil remained in the Gulf and was degrading quickly, with the rest contained, cleaned up or otherwise gone.President Barack Obama, while noting that people’s lives “have been turned upside down,” declared that the operation was “finally close to coming to an end.” (AP)