BP and Coast Guard say that Top Kill Procedure has Stopped the Worst US Oil Spill But the Well Must Still Be Capped

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New Scientist reports that BP engineers and US coastguard officials say the flow of oil into the ocean has stopped, although the well has not yet been successfully capped.

Newsweek reports on the success as well

Almost 19 hours after the “top kill” process of pumping mud and viscous liquid into the broken oil well in the Gulf, officials are claiming the process has worked. The main challenge had been to overcome the pressure of the oil spewing upward from the sub-sea reservoir. The first ship containing 50,000 barrels of the mud mixture reportedly ran out early Thursday, although a second boat was on the way. Coast Guard officials and BP engineers on the scene said they were hopeful the process could be labeled a full success once cement was pumped in to fully block the pipe within the next few hours.

In a teleconference this morning, U.S. Geological Survey head Marcia McNutt released the new estimates by her scientists trying to gauge the flow rate of the oil leak. There were two teams working—one watching the surface and the other monitoring the video feed from the leak site. The low estimate is now 12,000 barrels per day, but it may be more like 19,000 to 25,000, the teams found

* 11 million gallons were spilled by the Exxon Valdez.
* the lower 12,000 barrel per day estimate means that 13 million gallons were spilled
* Others calculate 19 million gallons and maybe as much as 39 million gallons have leaked in the five weeks since an oil rig exploded and sank

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