Houston - BP's ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well is secure with no threat of spewing crude again, the top US official overseeing the spill response said on Saturday.
"We basically have secured this well," retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said. "We have essentially eliminated the threat of discharge from the well at this point."
A cap atop failed blowout preventer equipment on the Macondo well had sealed in all oil flow since July 15. On Friday, BP replaced the failed equipment with a new giant stack of valves and pipes.
Once the new blowout preventer is tested, BP can resume drilling a relief well that will bore into the Macondo well and pump in mud and cement to plug it for good.
"We should be ready to move forward with the relief well sometime next week," Allen said.
A BOP is designed to shut off all flow and contain pressure if oil or gas gush uncontrollably from a seabed well. The Macondo BOP failed on April 20, leading to an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 men.
The well spewed more than four million barrels of oil into the Gulf over nearly three months.
BP pumped mud and cement into the well from the top on Aug. 5. The relief well procedure will ensure the job is done, Allen said.