Tony Hayward, BP group chief executive said, "This is a significant milestone in the response to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and is the final step in a complex and unprecedented subsea operation -- finally confirming that this well no longer presents a threat to the Gulf of Mexico. However, there is still more to be done. BP's commitment to complete our work and restore the damage done to the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf coast and the livelihoods of the people across the region remains unchanged."
BP said it will now proceed to complete the abandonment of the MC252 well, which includes removing portions of the casing and setting cement plugs. A similar plugging and abandonment of both relief wells will occur as well. BP will also now begin the process of dismantling and recovering containment equipment and decontaminating vessels that were in position at the wellsite. BP said that approximately 25,200 personnel, more than 2,600 vessels and dozens of aircraft remain engaged in the Gulf response effort. The company indicated that no volumes of oily liquid have been recovered from the surface of the Gulf of Mexico since July 21 and the last controlled burn operation occurred on July 20. BP, as part of Unified Command, continues to conduct overflights and other reconnaissance to search for oil on the surface. At peak, approximately 3.5 million feet of containment boom was deployed in response to the oil spill. Currently 670,000 feet of containment boom remains deployed.
BP said the cost of the response to September 17 amounts to approximately $9.5 billion, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, static kill and cementing, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid and Federal costs. On June 16, BP announced an agreed package of measures, including the creation of a $20 billion escrow account to satisfy certain obligations arising from the oil and gas spill.