Gulf Oil Spill
2:06 pm
Wed August 18, 2010

No Decision Yet On How To Conduct Bottom Kill

New Orleans, La. – National Incident Commander Thad Allen says engineers are still reviewing ways to ready the broken well for a bottom kill, which involves pumping heavy mud and cement through the bottom. Officials had been aiming for starting the bottom kill by this time.

"I've always said this will be conditions-based. We're concerned about the vital signs of this well. We continue to be concerned about the vital signs. Our first goal is to do no harm."

Allen says the well will be flushed and filled with seawater before pressure testing can help establish the condition of the line ahead of the bottom kill. He says a blow-out preventer to replace the one installed by the Deepwater Horizon rig will be moved to the wellhead from a spare relief well at the site. Engineers may also design and build a pressure-relief system for the cap now in place. Drilling the final few feet of the relief well is on hold until a decision is reached.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans