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Storm holds up oil well drilling

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NEW ORLEANS – Drilling the final feet of a relief well intended to permanently plug the busted BP oil well deep below the Gulf of Mexico will have to wait two to three days as a tropical depression bears down.BP and Coast Guard officials had already decided to stop drilling earlier Tuesday, before forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre named the storm a depression. A tropical storm warning was issued for much of the Gulf Coast affected by the oil spill, from Destin, Florida., to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, and included New Orleans.The centre of the storm was located off Florida, about 150 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, yesterday and was weakening. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami said the depression could dissipate instead of becoming Tropical Storm Danielle.The gusty weather will likely do more good than harm for the oil that remains in the Gulf, said Jerry Galt, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. The storm shouldn’t get strong enough to bring any kind of significant surge of water on shore. What little recognisable oil that remains on the surface will be broken down further by the choppy seas, Galt said.Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the spill, said the last steps will have to wait for ending any threat from the well. (AP)