BP plugs one of three leaks as Moody’s warns on rating

OIL major BP yesterday succeeded in plugging one of the three leaks from its ruptured Gulf of Mexico undersea well, which threatens to engulf the beaches of four American coastal states with a enormous oil slick.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the leak had been capped using a valve manoeuvred into place by remotely operated vehicles under the water. However, it added that oil is still pouring from the well at the same rate of 5,000 barrels creating a slick measuring 130 miles by 70 miles.

The news came as BP contractors battled yesterday to reach the entire site of the leak with an enormous concrete and steel dome, designed to cap the spill.

BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said earlier this week that the method has never before been used in deep water, although it has been successful at containing spills in shallower depths.

Rating agency Moody’s yesterday changed its outlook for BP’s credit to negative to reflect the possible impact of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The move raises the possibility that the ratings agency could change its view of the company for the first time in ten years.