Storm threatens spill cleanup, BP says CEO to stay

Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:07pm EDT
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By Kristen Hays and Tom Bergin

HOUSTON/LONDON (Reuters) - A growing storm delayed efforts to capture more oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico as BP Plc and Russia's government traded words on Monday over the future of the energy giant's chief executive.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, probing the exposure of big financial firms to the British energy giant, gave banks a "passing grade," one source told Reuters.

High waves from tropical storm Alex will delay BP's plan to add more oil-siphoning capacity to its leaking well until next week, a company executive told reporters in Houston, while state officials said Alex would hinder clean-up efforts.

Alex is the first in a new season of storms, raising concern about prolonged efforts to get control of the undersea leak that has spewed oil since April 20, threatening fisheries, tourism and wildlife in four states along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Kent Wells, BP executive vice president of exploration and production, said the current siphoning systems should not be affected "unless unfortunately a storm heads directly our way." But waves as high as 12 feet would delay hooking up a third system to capture oil, he said.

In London, BP said Tony Hayward was still its CEO, with no change under discussion, after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said he expected the embattled boss to resign soon and Moscow to be told the name of his successor on Monday.

Adding credence to BP's statement, Sechin's office said later that management changes were not raised when he met Hayward, who has been criticized over his response to the disaster and was in Russia to address Moscow's worries about BP's local operations in the leak's wake.