Bad Weather Brings BP Gulf Operations to Near Standstill

Authorities suspended operations around BP's (BP) ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico and prepared to evacuate workers as a tropical storm threatened to enter the area. Bad weather in the Caribbean will likely move into the Gulf this weekend, and there is a 40% chance of it becoming a tropical depression or tropical storm by Friday, the Associated Press reported. Efforts to plug the ruptured oil well were brought to a near standstill.

BP is currently working on a new method to contain the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico -- the so-called static kill method. This would involve pumping 200,000 gallons of mud and cement into the well to plug the leak, ABC reported. The method is similar to the "top kill" technique that BP tried unsuccessfully nearly two months ago. The problem then was that the oil was still spewing out of the well.

Authorities said Wednesday that weather could delay attempts to plug the leak by two weeks. BP may even have to remove the cap from the well if it has to evacuate technicians from the area.

In an attempt to prevent another disaster like BP's Deepwater Horizon spill, large oil companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) are spending $1 billion to create a new spill-containment system for the Gulf of Mexico. The system would work in water depths as great as 10,000 feet and have capacity to contain 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

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