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HOUSTON (Reuters) - BP said on Friday the cement seal on its crippled Gulf of Mexico oil well was holding and a relief well to permanently plug the ill-fated borehole was on track to reach its target in mid-August.

As the final stages of the long-awaited "kill" operation moved forward, nagging questions remained about the lasting environmental and economic impact to the U.S. Gulf region from the world's worst offshore oil accident.

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