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BP oil spill success sends shares up

NEWS of BP’s success in containing some of the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico sent the company’s shares up yesterday as the market responded to the first encouraging signs that the leak could be contained.

BP’s shares rose by 2.4 per cent, giving energy stocks a brief boost before closing at 529p, as the oil giant reported that a recent technique to siphon off the leaking oil was met with a positive response.

The group said yesterday that while it celebrates success in capping some of the spilling oil coming from the ocean floor, it has already recovered 151,000 barrels of oily liquid from the sea surface and has deployed a boom to prevent the oil from reaching the shore.

But BP remained cautious over the latest developments and said: “This remains a new technology and both its continued operation and its effectiveness in capturing the oil and gas remains uncertain. Other containment options continue to be progressed.”

If the siphoning process is successful, BP expects to launch the “top kill” procedure within the next week, which could stop the leak entirely.

The latest development comes as US officials are set to testify in front of the same Senate committee as BP chief executive Tony Hayward and chairman Lamar McKay.

Homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano will face the committee and testify on the government’s response to the spill, while McKay will also appear again in front of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.