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BP oil spill: shares slump further as hurricane fears rise

Telegraph.co.uk: BP shares slumped to their lowest level in 14 years on Friday on concerns that a hurricane next week could worsen the impact of the spill as it hampers clean-up work.

Published: 25 Jun 2010

The shares were down more than 7pc at just over 300p in early trading and have now fallen more than 50pc since BP’s well in the Gulf of Mexico ruptured 67 days ago, creating the biggest oil spill in US history.

Shares in BP, which has lost its status as Europe’s largest oil company, have fallen as the company’s efforts to prevent the oil gushing from the well consistently fail.

Added to investors’ existing fears over the cost of the clean-up and potential liabilities, is the prospect of the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season forming this weekend. A collection of thunderstorms was intensifying in the Caribbean off Honduras and Nicaragua, the US National Hurricane Center said late last night.

BP has been capturing up to 27,000 barrels of oil out of an estimated 65,000 daily, but was forced to suspend this operation on Wednesday when a sub-sea robot collided with safety equipment. The capturing ­operation re-started after a 12-hour outage that left oil flowing largely unchecked into the ocean once again.

BP was under further pressure after the US put its plans to start drilling a well near Alaska under review. President Barack Obama ordered a ban on new offshore deepwater drilling ­following the explosion on BP’s rig that killed 11 men.

But BP had the project classified as onshore because it is on an artificial island built by the oil company three miles off the Alaskan coast. Ken Salazar, the US interior Secretary, was grilled by lawmakers about whether this was safe. “We are looking into the issue right now,” he told them.

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