WRAPUP 2-BP oil spill cleanup work hampered by hurricane

* Hurricane Alex makes landfall in northeastern Mexico

* Obama to discuss spill plans with top officials

* US Senate panel takes step to remove liability caps

* Florida asks BP for more money to fund tourism campaign

* BP shares up 0.2 percent in London

(Adds BP shares in London)

By Ernest Scheyder

VENICE, Louisiana, July 1 (BestGrowthStock) – Hurricane Alex slowed
oil clean-up and containment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, with
any permanent fix to BP Plc’s (BP.L: )(BP.N: ) ruptured deep-sea oil
well still several weeks away.

The hurricane made landfall over northeastern Mexico late on
Wednesday, its high winds and the rough seas delaying the
British energy giant’s plans to expand the volume of oil it is
siphoning from the leaking well.

Alex is forecast to dissipate over Mexico in the next day or

The bad weather also threatened to push more oil-polluted
water onto the shoreline of the U.S. Gulf Coast and forced the
halting of skimming, spraying of dispersant chemicals and
controlled burns of oil on the ocean surface, officials said.

The worst oil spill in U.S. history is in its 73rd day. It
has caused an environmental and economic disaster along the U.S.
Gulf Coast, hurting fishing and tourism industries, soiling
shorelines and killing wildlife.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet with senior
U.S. officials on Thursday to review the spill situation and oil
containment plans, the U.S. Coast Guard said.


For full spill coverage http://link.reuters.com/hed87k

Special Report: Oil spill gushes for lawyers[ID:nN29258627]

Breakingviews [ID:nLDE65R1P7]

Insider TV http://link.reuters.com/ned73m

Graphics http://link.reuters.com/run88k


Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Wednesday one of two
relief wells being drilled by BP in a bid to stop the leak from
the ruptured well will take several weeks to reach the spewing
oil pipe. The relief wells are intended to intersect and then
plug the leak.

BP kept oil-capture and relief well drilling operations
going at the leak site through the bad weather.

BP’s market capitalization has shrunk by about $100 billion
and its shares have lost more than half their value since the
spill began on April 20 but are showing signs of stabilizing.
After rising for a third straight day in New York trading on
Wednesday, the shares were up about 0.2 percent at 319.5 pence
in London on Thursday.

Alex, a Category 2 hurricane when it reached land, unleashed
maximum sustained winds near 105 miles (169 km) per hour,
uprooting trees and toppling flimsy houses. It hit the coast of
Tamaulipas state in northeastern Mexico, about 100 miles (160
km) south of Brownsville, Texas, the U.S. National Hurricane
Center said. [ID:nN01273172]

In Washington, the Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee voted on Wednesday to eliminate limits on liability
that oil companies would face for oil spill damages.

The measure, which would apply retroactively to the BP
spill, must be passed by the full Senate and the House of
Representatives before going to President Barack Obama to sign
into law. Oil companies currently have a $75 million cap for
compensating local communities for economic losses and cleaning
up environmental damage.

BP already has agreed to set up an independently
administered fund of $20 billion to compensate victims.

The Interior Department said on Wednesday it was postponing
until later this year planned public hearings on a proposal from
Obama — made before the BP spill began — to expand offshore
oil drilling.


Florida Governor Charlie Crist on Wednesday asked BP for $50
million to fund a tourism advertising campaign, on top of a $25
million grant already received.

“Every dollar spent allows Florida businesses to stay open,
Floridians to keep their jobs, and families to worry less about
how to pay their bills,” Crist wrote in a letter to Doug
Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer.

Some clean-up workers along the coast expressed anxiety
about the time lost to the storm.

“If you have to move all this equipment out and then back in
again, how much time is lost there?” said Phil Ramon, a disaster
management consultant in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.

In Mississippi, clean-up crews contracted by BP were forced
to temporarily pack up their gear, taking time away from
cleaning the oil off tourist beaches.

“We are getting out of the storm right now, but we will be
back,” said Bill Sigler.

The weather delayed BP’s plans to boost containment capacity
at the undersea well.

U.S. government officials estimate 35,000 barrels (1.47
million gallons/5.56 million liters) to 60,000 barrels (2.5
million gallons/9.5 million liters) are gushing from the
blown-out well each day. BP’s current containment systems can
handle up to 28,000 barrels daily and its planned addition could
raise that to 53,000.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank in 5,000 feet (1,525
metres) of water after an April 20 explosion and fire killed 11
(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles, Kristin
Hays and Anna Driver in Houston, Tom Doggett in Washington,
Michael Peltier in Florida and Leigh Coleman in Mississippi;
Writing by Ros Krasny; Editing by Will Dunham and Will Waterman)

WRAPUP 2-BP oil spill cleanup work hampered by hurricane