They're down to the final stage. BP oil crews were pumping cement into the blown-out well on Saturday, to finally seal it once and for all.
BP expects the well will be completely sealed, and declared permanently dead, sometime on Saturday. The final stage comes five months after the catastrophe began April 20, when an explosion killed 11 workers, and led to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.
The permanent cement seal was put on hold until the relief well was drilled four kilometers beneath the floor of the Gulf, which happened Thursday.
The relief well was the 41st successful drilling attempt by John Wright, a contractor who lead the team drilling the relief well aboard the Development Driller III vessel.
A temporary cap was put in place mid-July, helping to stop the flow of some 206 million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf. Mud and cement were later pushed down through the top of the well, allowing the cap to be removed. The well will be considered officially dead when it's sealed from the bottom.
The spill has been both an environmental and economic disaster of epic proportions for the Gulf Coast. Oil still continues to wash ashore, making it difficult for the region to fight the perception that it's safe to swim in the water and consume fish caught in the Gulf.
With files from The Associated Press