New Orleans, La. – Heavy mud will be pumped one barrel at a time every minute, then two barrels, then three while engineers monitor pressure inside the cap that's been holding back the oil since mid-July. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen says cement could complete the procedure, depending on the condition of lines supporting the well itself.
"The decision on whether or not to put cement in after the mud will be completely dependent on the assessment of the integrity of the casing and the well bore, what the diagnostic testing has showed us in terms of the mud that has gone in. And if we don't have to cement we can always do that as a result of the bottom kill operation that will have to be done anyway."
The bottom kill is expected to permanently seal the broken well with more mud and cement pumped through a relief well.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.