British Petroleum has successfully stopped oil from flowing out of its damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since April.
Company officials announced the long-awaited victory Thursday afternoon, confirming all the valves were shut on a new experimental cap put in place this week to stop the spill.
"I am very pleased that there's no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico," BP PLC vice president Kent Wells said. "In fact, I'm really excited there's no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico."
The cap, however, is not a permanent solution and crews will have to monitor pressure readings to ensure the pipes don't rupture.
Meanwhile, BP will drill two relief wells to pump mud and cement into the leaking oil rig and hopefully plug it for good.
BP halted tests on the cap Wednesday after discovering a small leak on the side of the newly-installed device.
"I was gung-ho for this test and I remain gung-ho for this test," said U.S. National Incident Commander Thad Allen.
Undersea robots working a mile below the ocean surface shut down the valves -- checking pressure every 12 seconds -- with progress reports made every six hours.
The news comes after a nearly 24-hour delay stemming from an overabundance of caution. Government scientists and the U.S. Coast Guard wanted to gauge whether piping inside the blown out well could take the pressure -- or spring more leaks.
"They'll close it completely down and the pressure will stabilize around 9000 PSI, and that'll be it," said Eric Smith, the associate director of Tulane University's Energy Institute.
"Of course, the first thing we have to do is get that bloody well to stop flowing," said BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles.
Residents Still Suffering
One in three Gulf Coast residents recently polled expressed that they are depressed because of the oil spill.
Regina Benjamin, the U.S. Surgeon General has traveled to the region to address the issue.
"It may trigger a deeper depression, or thoughts of harming themselves or someone else, or turning to alcohol or substance abuse, things that are more serious," Benjamin explained. "And so those are the people that we have to look out for."
Experts said even if the new cap stops the leak, it will take years for the the region to recover from the largest oil spill in U.S. history.