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Aug 2, 2010 1:55 AM

On Gulf, a turning point nears in spill efforts

HOUSTON (AP) BP engineers hope soon to finish testing the blown-out Gulf of Mexico oil well to determine whether it can pump mud down its throat in hopes of starting to choking it for good.

Engineers planned to probe the busted blowout preventer with an oil-like liquid Tuesday to determine whether it could handle this so-called "static kill." Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen had said crews hoped to finish the test by noon.

There was no word by midday on whether the test was complete. If it's successful, though, the company plans to start slowly pumping the heavy mud down the well in a process that could continue through Thursday.

BP engineers say the static kill may permanently plug the well but they may not know for sure until they finish a relief well in a week or so.

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