BP Shares Outperform As Lake Michigan Oil Spill Estimate Doubles

Lake Michigan oil spill story updated to include additional details in third paragraph about BP bidding on land in the Gulf of Mexico.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- BP plc (BP) U.S.-listed shares have gained 1.86% in the two trading days since it first reported an oil spill at its Whiting refinery in Lake Michigan on Monday, outpacing shares of other large oil companies.

BP upped damage estimates Thursday, stating that between 15 and 39 barrels of oil had spilled. When the oil giant first reported the spill late on Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard had estimated that nine to 18 barrels had leaked. 

The spill is just a fraction of the 4.9 million barrel Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that more than halved BP's shares in 2010. The shares still haven't returned to where they were before that spill, which had cost the company nearly $20 billion as of the end of 2013. BP recently regained the right to bid on federal contracts in the Gulf of Mexico after being barred for 16 months. It paid $41.6 million for 24 tracts of land on March 19, Reuters reported.

Indiana's elected officials have so far been silent about the Lake Michigan spill, while some in Illinois, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin have sought to meet with BP officials, according to a separate Reuters report.

Shares of BP were up another 0.61% in the first minute of trading Friday to $47.86. Ahead of Friday's open, BP shares had outpaced those of both Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) since the spill was reported.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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