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BP Nearing Final Bottom Kill of Gulf Oil Well

The Blow Out Preventer (BOP) from the Deepwater Horizon heads up the Mississippi River in route to a NASA facility in Michoud, 11 Sep 2010

Oil company BP says it is getting closer to intercepting and finally killing the company's damaged Gulf of Mexico oil well.

In a statement Tuesday, the company said its relief well is now within six meters of the damaged oil well. Once the well is accessed, it will be sealed with mud and cement in what is known as the "bottom kill" procedure.

The U.S. official overseeing the response to the spill, retired Admiral Thad Allen, expects the bottom kill to completed this week.

Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Georgia say they have discovered thick deposits of oil on the bottom of the Gulf. Marine scientist Samantha Joye says the team found areas where oil was several centimeters thick in sediment samples taken at least 112 kilometers away from the spill site.

Joye says she has not positively linked the oil to the Gulf oil spill, but she said that it is clear the oil had settled down to the sea floor from above and was not naturally occurring seepage.

In August, the U.S. government released a study indicating that almost 75 percent of the oil which leaked into the Gulf had been captured, burned or dispersed. Scientists disputed that figure.

The oil well was sealed from the top with cement and mud last month after millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf. The spill was the result of an April 20 oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers.