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Oil Spill in Pictures: Gulf of Mexico Impact

(BP oil spill story updated for BP stock gains, static kill effort)

NEW YORK( TheStreet) --The U.S. government and BP have both issued good news about the oil spill.

The White House announced on August 4 that 74% of the oil that leaked from the Macondo well has either been captured, burned off, evaporated or broken down in the Gulf of Mexico.

At the same time, BP announced that its static kill effort has met with initial success, with the heavy drilling mud pumped into the well controlling the well pressure. BP referred to the success as a "significant milestone."

Pumping of the heavy drilling mud into the Macondo well began on Tuesday afternoon and was stopped after 8 hours. BP is in a holding pattern now, and it may or may not pump more drilling mud into the well before attempting to cement the well shut.

Mid-August remains the estimate of the most likely date by which the first BP relief well will intercept the Macondo well, the permanent solution to the oil spill.

Roughly 26% percent of the crude oil leaked by the BP well remains in waters or along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, but the government report said that the crude was breaking down rapidly.

"There's absolutely no evidence that there's any significant concentration of oil that's out there that we haven't accounted for," Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the New York Times.

The government report estimates that 25% of the chemicals in the oil evaporated at the surface or dissolved into seawater; 5% or more was eliminated in controlled burns; 3% was eliminated through skimming operations, another 8% broken down by chemical dispersants; and 16% of the crude oil from the leak dispersed naturally.

BP recently estimated that 827,000 barrels of oil had been skimmed, and 265,500 barrels of oil eliminated through controlled burns.
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