Tropical Storm Alex May or May Not Disrupt the BP Cleanup

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An extra 2 million gallons or so of oil could perhaps make its way into the Gulf over the next two weeks if Tropical Storm Alex happens to swing by the region and disrupt BP's cleanup efforts. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said, depending on the track and strength of the storm, its winds could possibly force an evacuation of thousands of workers and vessels. In this scenario, the containment cap would be off while everyone was evacuated, and it would take fourteen days to reassemble everything.

But if you ask Jill Hasling, executive director of the Weather Research Center in Houston, which provides weather forecasts to the oil industry, "[The storm] should have a very minimal effect on the cleanup," in all likelihood. Allen, understandably, is still hedging his bets: "We understand that [the storm] is moving westerly at this point, and does not threaten the site," he said today. "But we know that these tracks can change and are paying very close attention to it." Today, Tropical Storm Alex rained down on the coast of Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula.

In other oil news, "BP plans to place a third rig called the Helix Producer at the well site next week, which will increase the amount of oil being captured to 53,000 barrels a days," Allen said. Of course, that plan would be thrown off, too, if Tropical Storm Alex hits.

'Tropical storm, oil slick equal more fear, uncertainty' [CNN]
'Caribbean Storms Strengthen, May Head for Oil Spill' [Bloomberg]

Previously: Hurricane Season Is Only Going to Cause More Problems for BP