(THEODORE, Ala.) — BP officials say the first of two relief wells being drilled to stop the Gulf oil gusher could be finished by the end of the month, but that's a best-case scenario. Such an optimistic timetable would require ideal conditions.
The Obama administration's point man says the backup plan would be transferring the crude to non-producing underwater wells that are miles away. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says BP would run the flow through pipelines across the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Allen says that would take some construction and some time and would change the timetable to late August.
Still, the best hope to stop the spewing oil from the blown-out well a mile under the sea is the relief wells.
The leak began more than 2½ months ago following a deadly rig explosion off the Louisiana coast.
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