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Official: Gulf well is permanently sealed

The BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico - source of the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history - has been permanently killed, a top federal official announced Sunday.

Thad Allen, the federal spill response chief, said pressure tests confirmed that BP's effort to intersect the well and plug it with cement nearly 18,000 feet below the ocean surface had proved successful, according to media reports.

"With this development, which has been confirmed by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, we can finally announce that the Macondo 252 well is effectively dead," Allen said in a statement. "Additional regulatory steps will be undertaken, but we can now state, definitively, that the Macondo well poses no continuing threat to the Gulf of Mexico."

The damaged well spewed 205 million gallons until engineers affixed a cap to the well in July.

The disaster, which began in April after an explosion sank a drilling rig, closed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, sidelining workers and dealing a heavy blow to the seafood industry and beach towns from Louisiana to Florida.

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