BP’s Bob Dudley admits that hurricane Alex is driving oil to the US coast
BP’s share price took another 2pc knock, after the chief of the company’s oil spill response unit admitted that Hurricane Alex has spread oil inland.
By Rowena Mason
02 Jul 2010
Robert Dudley, chief of BP’s Gulf Coast restoration efforts, said high seas and winds were to blame for the growth of the slick.
“It has brought in oil, unfortunately, from the panhandle of Florida to Louisiana, right now, at a higher rate than it has been over the last few days,” he said.
BP shares continued to come under pressure more than 10 weeks after its Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank, triggering the giant leak. The shares dropped 5.95 to 322p in London.
In further developments:
• BP said it was still investigating claims by a US freelance photojournalist that workers have been trucking new sand to Louisiana beaches. The new layers appear to conceal tar balls caused by the slick.
• Admiral Thad Allen, the US incident commander, stuck to the official target date of August for the completion of BP’s relief wells, which are intended to plug the leak. However, BP is currently ahead of schedule, he added.
• Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of Total, said the French oil giant would look at buying any assets that BP may sell as part of its $10bn disposal programme. He confirmed it was not looking at a bid for the entire company.
• BP said it was close to reaching an agreement with environmental groups on new ways to prevent turtles from being burnt alive. It may now remove them from the water before setting fire to oil on the ocean. This week, one group filed a lawsuit accusing BP of violating the US Endangered Species Act by failing to protect the rare Gulf Coast sea creatures.
•The world’s biggest supertanker began skimming oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the day after the slick became the worst accidental spill on record. The only bigger spill is the deliberate release of oil by Iraqi troops during the 1991 Gulf War.
The Taiwanese ship known as the “Whale” could dramatically help the effort to remove remaining oil from the oceans surrounding the leak.
Meanwhile, BP’s clean-up efforts returned to normal after Hurricane Alex temporarily stopped it from spraying chemical dispersants and burning oil on the ocean.
The US Coast Guard said it was now preparing to fly over Louisiana’s marsh lands to check how far the winds have spread BP’s oil. It will also monitor whether protective barriers have been damaged by the hurricane.
Last night, weather forecasters began to observe a weak low pressure system over the north-east Gulf of Mexico that is drifting west towards the BP spill area. There is only a low chance of it developing into a tropical depression, but clean-up operations are likely to be put on hold at the first sign of a storm.
Scientists predict that Miami and the Florida Keys face a 61pc to 80pc chance of being hit with tar balls from the oil spill. The Mississippi River Delta to the western Panhandle of Florida face a 81pc to 100 pc risk of contamination.