BP closer to permanent Gulf well cap

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BP plans to finish drilling into the base of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico this week to pump in mud and cement and permanently plug the source of the world's biggest offshore oil spill.

Cement that was poured in last week sealed the top of the well on the ocean floor about a mile below the surface. "The pressure testing following the cementing operations indicates we have an effective cement plug," the company said Sunday.

BP said the cost of the spill rose to $6.1 billion, Bloomberg reports.

The well spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude after an April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig until BP capped the top July 15 with a stack of valves on.

BP has stopped skimming for oil in the ocean because it's having trouble finding crude on the surface, Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for exploration and production, told Bloomberg.

About 74 percent of the oil that flowed from Macondo evaporated, dissolved or biodegraded, or was burned, skimmed or captured, the government said in a report last week.

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