BP aims to kill spill well, weighs sale of assets

Written by Reuters | Updated: Jul 31 2010, 04:18am hrs
BP may permanently shut the well that caused the worst off-shore oil spill in US history as early as Monday, the company said as speculation grew over assets it might sell to cover mounting costs.

Incoming BP chief executive Bob Dudley said the company would stay involved with the cleanup process in the Gulf of Mexico long after the leaking well was plugged and expressed optimism the damaged environment would recover.

It is possible that as early as Monday or Tuesday this well might be killed, Dudley said on National Public Radio.

Theres no precision, theres nothing guaranteed. Im hopeful and I do believe weve seen the end of oil flowing into the Gulf, he added.

A so-called static kill operation that involves pumping drilling mud and cement into the well from the top will be attempted early next week, but a relief well to intercept the ruptured one is seen as the ultimate solution for the leak. The relief well should be completed by mid-August.

The US government remains cautiously optimistic. The top official overseeing the spill response said he was confident a relief well preceded by the static kill would plug the leak for good. Retired Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen would not go so far as saying the next steps are foolproof, but he said at a briefing in New Orleans, We are optimistic that we will get this thing done.

One hundred days after a rig explosion killed 11 workers and opened up an oil-spewing gash on the sea floor, investigations were examining whether BP and other companies involved misled both regulators and investors.