US National Incident Commander Thad Allen said Saturday in a news conference that a new blowout preventer has "basically secured" the BP Macondo well site. Although BP will resume work on a relief well soon to administer the final kill, Allen essentially declared victory in the battle with the Macondo well that has raged since April 20.
"I am pleased to announce that this well does not constitute a threat to the Gulf of Mexico at this point," Allen said during the Saturday briefing that followed an earlier announcement that a replacement BOP had been successfully installed (story, 1155 GMT).
Allen said the original, malfunctioning Macondo BOP was still about 500 feet from delivery to the Helix Q4000 multipurpose vessel hauling it to the surface from its position on the Macondo wellhead 4,993 feet below.
He said the original BOP would be surrendered to investigators for any use it might have as evidence in understanding the cause of the Macondo blowout.
In addition, Allen also said the anticipated threat of broken drill pipes had not materialized when engineers successfully removed the original BOP Friday afternoon.
"Oil Spill: BP's Blown Well Is Finally Neutralized," Bryan Walsh posted Sept. 4 at Time's "Ecocentric" blog.