New Orleans, La. – Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen says he's not ready to declare the well dead just yet.
"I think we can all breathe a little easier regarding the potential that we'll have oil in the Gulf ever again. But we need to ensure the people of the Gulf and the people of the United States that this thing is properly finished and that will be through the bottom. Now how long it takes depends on when the cementing is done."
Allen says once the cement is finished filling in any gaps, it should be dry in about a day. It will be about a week before the relief well finishes drilling the last 100 feet into the broken well under the sea floor. Cement will then be pumped into the broken well. It could take weeks to finish.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.