BP said Monday that it resumed drilling of a relief well that is intended to put the final plug in its stricken well in the Gulf of Mexico. The company said that the crew of the Development Driller III rig began drilling again after technicians installed a device called a lockdown sleeve at the top of the stricken well on the seabed. The sleeve will keep a seal in place, preventing further leakage of oil and gas, if pressure inside the well increases during the final plugging operation.
No appreciable amount of oil or gas has leaked for nearly two months. Company officials have said it will take about four days for the relief well to intercept the stricken well. After that, the final plugging operation, which will involve pumping mud and cement into the stricken well, should take about a week.