BP says its latest effort to permanently kill the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico looks promising, but won't know if it's worked for another week.
The government is expected to announce Wednesday that the vast majority of oil spilled into the gulf is gone.
According to the New York Times, federal officials will report that three-quarters of the crude has already evaporated, dispersed or been captured, and that the rest of it doesn't pose much harm.
The news comes just a day after BP began pumping heavy mud into the ruptured well in hopes of sealing it for good. Onboard the ship where crews were carrying out the static kill, a BP official sounded optimistic.
"All I can say is so far it's looking good and things are going the way we want them to go," said Bobby Bolton, wellsite leader for BP.
The operation will likely continue through Thursday, but crews may not know for another week or so whether it worked.
Tara Mergener reports, “BP has said it may no longer need relief wells if the static kill is successful. But the government's man in charge of the disaster made it clear Tuesday those wells will be completed.”
"There should be no ambiguity about that,” said Adm. Thad Allen, National Incident Commander for the Coast Guard. “I'm the National Incident Commander, and that's how this will end. It will end with the relief wells being drilled."
But an end to the well doesn't mean an end to the clean up.
"Just [Tuesday] we had tar balls in significant quantities washing ashore in Grand Isle and in those passes to the east of Grand Isle," said Deano Bonano, Director of Homeland Security for Jefferson Parish in Louisiana.
While Wednesday's government report is expected to show much of the oil has disappeared, Gulf Coast residents fear what's left of the spill may wash ashore for months to come.