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BP stock plummets with oil spill clean-up at key stage

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A spokesman for BP -- whose chief executive, Tony Hayward, is currently on a UK investor roadshow -- said it had "considerable firepower" to meet the costs of the spill and denied market talk that the company was seeking bankruptcy protection.

BP has been gradually increasing the amount of oil it is siphoning off through a containment cap system installed earlier this month. The company said its oil-capture systems collected or burned off 23,775 barrels of oil on Thursday.

Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who oversees the federal relief effort, said BP plans to more than double its oil collection capacity next week.
"We're coming upon a critical time next week," Allen told Fox News Channel. "We're going to bring a third vessel on line by next Tuesday that will bring our production rate up to about 53,000 barrels a day."

U.S. government scientists estimate that between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels a day are leaking from the well, far above BP's original estimate of 5,000 barrels a day.


Bad weather, however, could delay the company's plans to boost its oil collection capacity.

Some computer models show the storm system in the western Caribbean Sea moving over the Yucatan Peninsula and then veering north into the Gulf of Mexico. Others, however, showed the system heading westward toward Mexico.

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