BP permanently "killed" Gulf Macondo well: U.S. officials

With a final shot of cement, BP Plc permanently "killed" the runaway Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico that had unleashed the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the top U.S. spill official said on Sunday.

The well flowed unchecked for 87 days after an April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and unleashed a torrent of oil that marred the coasts of four Gulf Coast states and spurred a moratorium on all new U.S. offshore drilling.

BP engineers sealed off the flow July 15 with a cap on the mile-deep well after it spewed more than 4 million barrels into the Gulf, about 16 times as much as the 257,000 barrels of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989.

The spill wiped about $70 billion from BP's market value and spurred BP to replace its gaffe-prone Chief Executive Tony Hayward with an American, Bob Dudley, effective October 1.

[Source: Reuters, Houston, 19Sep10]

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