• Today
    September 27

  • 12:27 PM

Alex worrying news for BP

marciadottin, marciadottin@nationnews.com

Added 27 June 2010

NEW ORLEANS – A tropical storm churning in the Caribbean could be the latest bad news for BP crews trying to contain and clean up the massive oil spill in the Gulf, an effort that has been plagued by setbacks for more than two months.It is still too early to tell exactly where Tropical Storm Alex might go, or how it might affect oil on and below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters said. An armada of ships is working on the spill. That includes those drilling two relief wells, projected to be done by mid-August, which are the best hope for halting the crude that has been gushing since an April 20 explosion touched off the biggest offshore oil spill in US history.BP’s effort to drill through 2 1/2 miles of rock is on target, the oil giant said Friday. But BP’s stock tumbled anyway over the mounting costs of the disaster and the company’s inability to plug the leak sooner.The crew that has been drilling the relief well since early May ran a test to confirm it is on the right path, using a tool that detects the magnetic field around the casing of the original, blown-out well.“The layman’s translation is, ‘We are where we thought we were,’” said BP spokesman Bill Salvin. Once the new well intersects the ruptured one, BP plans to pump in heavy drilling mud to stop the oil flow and plug it with cement.Despite the encouraging news, BP stock tumbled six per cent in New York on Friday to a 14-year low on news that BP has now spent US$2.35 billion dealing with the disaster.BP has lost more than US$100 billion in market value since its deep-water drilling platform blew up, and its stock is worth less than half the US$60 or so it was selling for on the day of the explosion.If the bad weather heads toward the Gulf, it could add to BP’s problems.Forecasters can’t say yet if Alex – which blew into a tropical storm early Saturday – will hit the northeastern part of the Gulf, where the spill has spread over the past ten weeks.Somewhere between 69 million and 132 million gallons of crude have spewed into the water since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. (AP)

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