By Houston Business Journal

For now, BP Plc is being allowed to keep the cap closed tight on its ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico despite the fact that something is leaking from the sea floor near the well.

Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said earlier on Monday the government is giving BP another day to keep the cap on.

Late on Sunday, Allen pointed out that something appeared to be leaking near the broken well and that BP needed to do a better job of monitoring of the ocean floor.

Investors didnâ¿¿t react positively to the possible leak. Shares of BP, which had gained over the past few weeks, slid by 6 percent to $34.58 during Monday's trading session. Rig owner Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) was also down â¿¿ by 8.3 percent to $47.77.

But by mid-afternoon, BP spokesman Mark Proegler had told Reuters that scientists had concluded that the seep was naturally occurring and not related to the well. BP's stock rebounded and closed down only 3.6 percent to $35.74. Meanwhile, Transocean closed down 7.7 percent at $48.08. Shares of The Woodlands-based Anadarko, which owns 25 percent of the Macondo well, also fell - closing down 4 percent at $45.52.

In a day full of ups and downs, the White House then announced Monday afternoon that BP's well cap is now also leaking at the top, according to the Associated Press. But Allen said that the leaks are so far not a major concern.

On July 15, BPâ¿¿s experimental, 75-ton cap put a halt to the oil that was being released into the Gulf after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent spill.

BP said Monday that the pressure inside the well recently had been measured at about approximately 6,792 pounds per square inch and is slowly rising.

As of Monday, BP said it has spent $3.95 billion on the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid and federal costs. To date, the total volume of oil recovered or flared by the containment systems is about 826,800 barrels.

An estimated 1.5 to 2.5 million gallons of oil had been leaking into the Gulf every day.

The Houston Business Journal is providing continuous coverage of the Gulf oil spill.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2010/07/19/daily10.html?ana=thestreet

Copyright bizjournals.com 2010

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