Storm Threat Stalls Efforts to Seal BP's Ruptured Well

As the threat of a storm stalled efforts to permanently seal BP’s blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico, the government said Thursday that the well would be left closed off and unattended if ships had to leave the area.

By late Thursday evening, Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who leads the federal response effort, said many vessels at the well site were preparing to leave now that a tropical depression had developed into a tropical storm, Bonnie, that was headed into the gulf, New York Times reports.

According to The Associated Press, o il prices held above $79 a barrel Friday in Asia as stock markets rallied and a storm threatened oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Benchmark crude for September delivery was down 1 cent at $79.29 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract surged $2.74 on Thursday to settle at $79.30, a 10-week high, as stock markets jumped on better-than-expected second quarter corporate earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 2 percent Thursday and all major Asian stock markets gained Friday.

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