The process seems to be working so far and crews will start pumping cement into the well over the next few days while an 18,000 foot relief well is being drilled. The relief well would intersect with the blown out well, but work on that has to wait until concrete is added to the plug. The concrete could also take at least a day to dry and settle.
Elsewhere, NOAA officials had reported that as much as 70% of the oil that spilled from the Deepwater Horizon site has been burned, skimmed, collected, dispersed or naturally dissolved. The report also states that the estimated amount of oil remaining in the Gulf would still be about 5 times worse than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William sound.
Some researchers have criticized the report as being incomplete and overly optimistic, though.
"This is just way too neat," said Larry McKinney, director of the Texas A&M University research center on the Gulf of Mexico. "How can you even do this at this point? There's a lot of oil still floating out there."The report comes after inconsistencies in BP and government estimates in exactly how much oil was pouring from the ruptured well site on a daily basis and even more inconsistencies on the length of the NOAA report. The NOAA initially said there was a more comprehensive 200 page report, but then retracted that and released a 10-page report.
"This is a shaky report. The more I read it, the less satisfied I am with the thoroughness of the presentation," Florida State University oceanography professor Ian MacDonald told The Associated Press. "There are sweeping assumptions here."