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BP relief well prep work resumes in gulf

  |   July 25, 2010 at 10:31 AM
NEW ORLEANS, July 25 (UPI) -- The ship drilling the relief well at the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was back on the scene Sunday preparing to resume operations.

Work resumed as reports surfaced in Britain that BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward was in talks on a separation package that would allow him to leave the global oil giant.

The BBC reported Sunday that Hayward, who has taken the brunt of the furor over the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster that left 11 workers dead and caused tens of millions of gallons of crude to pour into the gulf, would be replaced by American Bob Dudley, who is in charge of the cleanup operation. An announcement was expected by Monday.

The tropical depression that used to be Tropical Storm Bonnie cleared out of the area and allowed ships to return to the site of the Deepwater Horizon well. The drilling of two relief wells, expected to be completed by mid-August, is seen as the best bet to kill the damaged oil well that was temporarily capped July 15.

But retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander, told reporters Bonnie was likely not the last storm to disrupt the drilling. "We're going to be playing a cat-and-mouse game for the remainder of the hurricane season," Allen said.

CNN Sunday reported completion of the first relief well was still on target, despite forecasts of a busy hurricane season in the gulf.

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