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Relief well crews drilling ever deeper

Drilling crews are grinding ever deeper to build the relief wells that are the best hope of stopping the massive oil leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

The crew of Transocean’s Development Driller II is on track to pour cement starting to firm up a section of metal casing lining one of two relief wells.

BP and government officials say the wells are the best option for cutting off the gusher that has spilled as much as 125M gallons into the Gulf since the Transocean drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers.

BP hopes that by late June it will keep nearly 90% of the flow from the broken pipe from hitting the ocean.

It will likely be August before crews finish drilling the relief wells.

On the Development Driller II, one of two rigs working on the effort, BP wellsite leader Mickey Fruge said the well has reached a depth of roughly 1,524m below the seafloor. There is still another 2,438m to go.

The other well is deeper, but drilling superintendent Wendell Guidry says it’s anyone’s guess which team will intersect the damaged well first.

“The main thing is, you know, we try to keep the guys focused,” Guidry said. “We’re just treating this like we treat any other well that we drill.”

Once a relief well intersects with the damaged well, BP plans to shoot heavy drilling mud down the well bore, then plug it with cement.

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