BP and the federal government had decided to keep the well sealed at the top while the storm passed, despite concerns that capping it could exacerbate potential leaks in the pipes below. On Sunday, Allen said that the pressure and temperature readings inside the well remained "consistent with the well having integrity," meaning no harm had been done, and that crews could pick up where they left off in their efforts to solve the problem.
Over the next week, workers will continue work on the relief well that will intersect the original well, plugging it with mud and concrete. One interim step involves laying the last stretch of casing pipe in the 17,000-plus-foot relief well, and cementing it in place.
Then — sometime during the week of Aug. 1, Allen said — crews will attempt the "static kill" operation, pumping mud into the top of the well while the cap remains sealed.
Experts hope that a successful static kill will make it easier to fully seal the well with the relief well, which Allen has called the "ultimate solution" to the problem.