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Top Kill Stops Oil Leak, Reports Say

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted May 27, 2010

At an early morning news conference, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said today that engineers have stopped the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico.

The "top kill" procedure, in which heavy drilling fluids are pumped at a high rate of speed into the blowout preventer (BOP) and down the wellbore, apparently is working.

As The Los Angeles Times reports, the pressure from the well is low but not at zero yet. When the pressure has been overcome completely by the fluid, engineers will pump cement into the well and entomb it. Engineers also are pumping debris into the BOP in an apparent "junk shot." The Times also notes that only after the cementing is completed, sealing the well, can the top kill be called a success.

Adm. Allen said he was encouraged by the top kill's progress. "We'll get this under control," he said.


Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.