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BP chief Tony Hayward might be out sooner than later

The executive, criticized for his handling of the spill, had been expected to be gone this fall. A source says, though, that he will be replaced Tuesday. Work resumes on permanently plugging the leak.

July 26, 2010|By Ronald D. White, P.J. Huffstutter and Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times

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.

ron.white@latimes.com

p.j.huffstutter@latimes.com

richard.fausset@latimes.com

Times staff writer Rong-Gong Lin II in New Orleans contributed to this report.

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