BP shares see-saw on uncertainty over spill plans

By Sarah Young

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Shares in BP Plc (BP.L: ) see-sawed on Wednesday as nervy investors awaited news over the oil major’s next steps to contain an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Shares in BP were up 2.6 percent to 498 pence at 1450 GMT (10.50 a.m. EDT), broadly in line with a 2.8 percent rise in Britain’s FTSE 100 index (.FTSE: ) of blue chip companies, as traders cited market talk that the company was close to giving a positive update on the situation.

The shares had earlier dropped as much as 1.6 percent as uncertainty over BP’s next move persisted.

BP said it had not taken any decision on whether to try to plug the ruptured well with heavy fluids, the so-called “top kill” procedure, and had no time scale for making a statement.

Earlier, Chief Executive Tony Hayward said he would decide later on Wednesday whether to go ahead with the “top kill” procedure.

A spokesman for the company said: “We have nothing to say until a decision has been taken on whether we’re actually proceeding with a top kill.”

Previous attempts to control oil gushing into the sea have failed.

“This week is going to be fairly crucial for the company. If the top kill doesn’t work the stock’s going to continue to languish,” said Panmure Gordon analyst Peter Hitchens.

“Once you get this well under control the stock will recover a lot of lost ground, but until that happens people are just going to be nervous.”

BP, which is under intense pressure from the U.S. government over its handling of the disaster which has seen oil spill into the sea for over five weeks, has given the top kill plan a 60 to 70 percent chance of halting the leak.

The group has lost about a quarter of its market value — or $50 billion — since the disaster on April 20.

BP has a number of other options if the top kill fails, including installation of a new dome and putting a new valve over the old one, as it continues to drill two relief wells which would stop the oil flow but won’t be ready until August.

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(Additional reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Paul Hoskins and David Holmes)

BP shares see-saw on uncertainty over spill plans