New Orleans, La. – Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen says pressure readings and seismic tests indicate the broken well line is intact. He says it should be able to handle heavy mud that will be pumped down through the containment cap in the next few days in a process called a static kill. The ultimate solution remains the relief well killing the broken well from the bottom, which is expected by the middle of next month.
"I think we've learned early on we need to continue to understand we'll do the best thing we can to the optimum outcome right now is to lay that casing pump, do the static kill and proceed with the well intercept."
Meantime, ships are getting ready to stand by with production equipment in case the relief well doesn't work. Allen says the government is requiring the system be capable of capturing up to 80,000 barrels a day.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.