NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of BP ( BP) ended the week with their biggest five-day gain since the oil spill crisis began on April 20.

Nearing the close on Friday, BP shares were holding above $29, at $29.47. The fate of BP shares seemed tied to the weather in the Gulf of Mexico, at least in the short-term.

Last Friday, June 25, when fears intensified about Hurricane Alex forcing BP to abandon its oil spill containment effort, BP shares slid to a 52-week, oil-spill low (as well as a new 14-year low) at $27.

This week, though, as it became clear that Hurricane Alex would not hit the BP oil spill containment effort directly, at least one pressure point was removed from the BP share value.

The weekly gain had BP shares up roughly 7% near the close on Friday. The week of May 24 to May 28, BP ended the week slightly higher than its Monday opening price, the only other week during the oil spill crisis during which BP shares have edged higher, according to Google Finance historical share price data.

Hurricane Alex didn't leave BP completely free of unintended consequences. All vessels involved in skimming operations -- as many as 5,000 -- had been called into shore by Tuesday, as 12-foot waves hit the Gulf. BP had to push back its plans to implement an improved containment system -- which could handle as much as 53,000 barrels of oil a day -- to July 7. More oil was also driven into shore by the storm winds, too.

Still, the weather worst-case scenario was avoided. By Friday, the oil spill cleanup effort was up and running again, and there were indications that Hurricane Alex had resulted in at least one positive turn in the now ten-week-old oil spill: the stormy conditions at sea helped to break apart larger surface concentrations of oil. It is a general rule of the relationship between hurricanes and oil spills that the rough conditions help to disperse the oil, and accelerate the process of biodegradation.

Meanwhile, BP's oil spill containment system continued to capture a steady rate of oil throughout the tempestuous week in the Gulf of Mexico. On Thursday, July 1, BP collected more than 25,000 barrels of oil, bringing the total amount of oil captured since the containment system began operations to 534,000 barrels.

On Friday, with Hurricane Alex downgraded to a tropical storm, BP announced that it had restarted its oil spill cleanup effort, and expected to resume its effort to raise its containment capability to 53,000 barrels of oil next week. Beyond that, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Friday that BP was slightly ahead of schedule in drilling its first relief well, meaning that an end to the leaking well could come by the end of July, as opposed to mid-August.

A 7% rise for a stock that has lost 50% of its value isn't much, and might not last with hurricane season just getting started in the Gulf of Mexico. Still, for at least this week, the movement of BP shares looked like Fourth of July weekend fireworks. They weren't blowing up but, for a change, flying higher.

-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.


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