The latest developments in the oil spill

Tuesday, August 3, 2010; A03

-- A hydraulic leak delayed the static kill, which will pump mud into the damaged well in an attempt to force the oil back to the source rock. That could be followed by a cement plug. But the first step in the static kill, an "injectivity test," was put off by the discovery of a leak in the hydraulic system on the well's cap, BP announced late Monday.

-- BP's well was gushing faster than expected, government experts said. The latest estimate pegs original "flow rate" at 62,000 barrels a day (2.6 million gallons), higher than the last estimate of 35,000 to 60,000 barrels. As the reservoir was depleted, the rate was reduced to 53,000 barrels a day. They calculated the total oil coming from the blown-out well at 4.9 million barrels, more than 18 times the amount of oil that was spilled during the Exxon Valdez disaster.

-- Several environmental groups have asked a federal appeals court to disqualify a judge from hearing a case about the Obama administration's initial six-month moratorium on deep-water oil drilling. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman overturned the temporary drilling ban in June and refused last month to withdraw from the case. In a court filing Thursday, environmental groups supporting the moratorium asked the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to remove Feldman because of his investments in several oil and gas companies. Feldman says he learned he owned Exxon Mobil stock a day before he ruled and sold it several hours before he issued the decision.

-- Transocean stock closed at $50.68, up $4.47 or 9.67 percent. BP did slightly better than the market overall, closing at $39.42, up 95 cents or 2.47 percent.

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