The relief well considered the best chance at stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico is ahead of schedule and could reach its target within a month, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said in an operational update today.

Initially expected to be completed in mid-August, Development Driller III is now scheduled to pass by the wellhead in about three weeks, the Houston Chronicle reports. However, the paper notes that Allen also says there is no guarantee the relief well will be complete any earlier than anticipated because once the drill passes the wellhead, the last 1,000 feet of work to intercept the pipe is particularly difficult.

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