UPDATE: BP says relief well getting closer to target

HOUSTON — BP says the rig drilling the relief well that’s the best hope of stopping the Gulf oil spill has made it within about 20 feet horizontally of the blown-out well that’s gushing crude.

BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said Monday that the rig is going to drill an additional 900 feet down before crews cut in sideways and start pumping in heavy mud to try to stop the flow from the damaged well. It’s currently about 16,770 feet down.

Wells says BP is moving extremely cautiously to make sure everything is lined up correctly and the relief well is still on target to be finished by early August. A second well is being drilled as a backup.

Wells says the company has a high degree of confidence in the relief wells.

Harry R. Weber/The Associated Press