The AP reports a statement from a White House spokesman:
WASHINGTON — A White House spokesman says BP's ruptured oil well is leaking at the top, along with seepage about two miles away.
Robert Gibbs also says officials are monitoring bubbles that can be seen on an underwater camera.
BP claims that the seepage is unrelated to the Macondo well, but is naturally occurring.
BP shares, which had dropped more than 6 percent after engineers detected seepage on the floor of the Gulf after the well was capped on Thursday, recovered in late trade on the news. They were down 3.9 percent in late afternoon trading in New York.
BP spokesman Mark Proegler told Reuters: "Scientists have concluded that the seep was naturally occurring."
Investors had feared that seepage could signal that the April 20 blowout that preceded the leak damaged the wellbore, which could allow oil and gas to leak out the sides and possibly breach the seabed.
Take BP’s statement with a grain of salt. There has not yet been any confirmation of this from Thad Allen.
BP recently sought to hire Gulf scientists @ $250/hour. They were told that they must keep their research confidential for three years.
Some scientists from LSU, Southern Mississippi, and Texas A&M have seemingly accepted the offer. Alabama Press-Register, July 16, 2010:
BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university, according to scientists involved. The university declined because of confidentiality restrictions that the company sought on any research. The Press-Register obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect for at least the next three years. …
More than one scientist interviewed by the Press-Register described being offered $250 an hour through BP lawyers. …
Scientists from Louisiana State University, University of Southern Mississippi and Texas A&M have reportedly accepted, according to academic officials. …
Robert Wiygul, an Ocean Springs lawyer who specializes in environmental law, said that he sees ethical questions regarding the use of publicly owned laboratories and research vessels to conduct confidential work on behalf of a private company. … It also buys silence, he said, thanks to confidentiality clauses in the contracts.
“It makes me feel like they were more interested in making sure we couldn’t testify against them than in having us testify for them,” said George Crozier, head of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, who was approached by BP.
Richard Shaw, associate dean of LSU’s School of the Coast and Environment, said… “The first order of business at the research meetings is to get all the disclosures out. Who has a personal connection to BP? We have to know how to deal with that person,” Shaw said. …
“This is not an agreement to do research for BP,” Wiygul said. “This is an agreement to join BP’s legal team. You agree to communicate with BP through their attorneys and to take orders from their attorneys. … The contract requires scientists to agree to withhold data even in the face of a court order if BP decides to fight such an order. It stipulates that scientists will be paid only for research approved in writing by BP.
One thing for certain. BP does not have the interests of the American people at heart, and, there is still much that we do not know.
UPDATE: Admiral Allen stated that the seepage is naturally occurring.
There had been concern that the seepage spotted over the weekend could mean oil and gas from the damaged well was flowing into geologic formations from which they could eventually flow into the Gulf of Mexico. That would be a much more difficult situation to deal with it.
But BP said Monday that appeared not to be the case. That view was echoed by Adm. Thad Allen (ret.) at an afternoon briefing.