BP‘s relief well has intercepted the ruptured Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, paving the way towards plugging the damaged shaft.

National incident commander Admiral Thad Allen said sensors and pressure tests showed the relief well had bored into the blown-out Macondo well and the two wells are now joined, reports Reuters.

The next step is to pump cement into the annulus between the Macondo pipe and the walls of the well near its bottom about 4,000m beneath the seabed and complete the bottom kill of the well.

Allen added that once the cement cured, BP would be able to conduct pressure tests to ensure the well was dead.

The ruptured Macondo well has spewed more than four million barrels of oil into the sea since April, following an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. It was sealed off with a cap on the wellhead on 15 July.