Many people said that the only way to stem the flow of the leak was to drill relief wells. This was eventually done on July 15th, nearly 3 months after the explosion and subsequent oil leak had begun. Relief wells take some time to drill, so BP tried numerous tactics in the mean time, such as plugging the leaking well with garbage, multiple attempts to use remote underwater vehicles to close off blowout valves, a containment dome to filter oil into a surface container, and cement seals were all unsuccessful. Not until the relief well was drilled and established was the pressure subdued enough to position a cap to finally seal the leaking well.
As indicated in the refs in the other answer, the well was capped and flow was stopped nearly two months before the relief well was completed. The relief well was pursued primarily as a way of insuring that everything was done that could be done.
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