The first relief well BP is drilling in the Gulf of Mexico could intercept the leaking Deepwater Horizon well in seven to 10 days, the man heading the federal response to the oil crisis said Thursday.
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the length of time it will take to seal the well will depend on "where the oil is coming up through, where they can intercept, where they can put the mud in, where they can put the cement plug."
He reiterated that despite that accelerated time frame, he's sticking with mid-August as the expected time for the "bottom kill" procedure to be completed. "Certain things could move that up," Allen said, but for the second time in as many days, he couched that optimism, saying, "It's better to under-promise and over-deliver."
BP is in the final stages of drilling one of two relief wells, which is now 17,780 feet deep, Allen said. He called it "the slowest, most meticulous part."