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Forecaster: Storm Likely To Cause Threat To BP Oil Collection Efforts

A cluster of thunderstorms in the south Caribbean will likely become the first named tropical storm of the Atlantic basin hurricane season and could pose a danger to BP PLC's (BP, BP.LN) efforts to collect oil spewing from the Macondo well in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, a forecaster said Friday.

"I cannot emphasize enough that this storm will pose a serious threat," to BP's operations at the Macondo well, said Jim Rouiller, a senior energy meteorologist with Planalytics.

The National Hurricane Center gives the low pressure area centered between the northeast coast of Honduras and Grand Cayman a high chance, 70%, of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.

The system is likely to become a tropical depression before it reaches the Yucatan Peninsula in a couple of days. An Air Force reconnaissance plane is scheduled to investigate this disturbance later Friday to determine if a tropical cyclone has formed.

Computer weather models show the storm show tracking either toward the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico or toward Louisiana, according to Accuweather.com.

If the storm gains strength and tracks toward the Texas and Louisiana coast, it won't only disrupt efforts to contain the Macondo well, but it could also shut in production at other oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

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