BP will begin pumping cement into its ruptured well in Gulf of Mexico today, one of the final steps that will seal the well permanently.

BP has been allowed to cement its damaged well closed based on the successful completion of the static kill procedure and a positive evaluation of the test results, said national incident commander Thad Allen.

The company had previously pumped mud from the Gulf surface into the oil well.

Meanwhile, the US Government said the majority of oil spilled had been cleaned up or broken down. The oil was captured, burned off or evaporated, leaving nearly 200 million litres of oil in Gulf waters.