BP Drilling Close To Busted Well

New Orleans, La. – National Incident Commander Thad Allen says the relief well is close to punching through the outer seal of the plugged well.

"Once it's cemented the cement will have to cure and be pressure tested. That entire element from this morning I would estimate to be about 96 hours."

Allen says BP has been slowly drilling, then checking how close the relief well is to the line that blew apart April 20th. The well has been choked off with mud and cement pumped down from surface ships early last month. Allen has ordered that more mud and cement will pumped into the outer shell from the bottom before he declares the well is dead.

"So four days from now, it could be all done"

For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.