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June 4th, 2010
02:01 PM ET

Hurricanes could derail August oil leak deadline

Wayne Drash
CNN

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/06/04/oil.spill.hurricanes/story.oilspill.gi.jpg caption="BP's estimate to plug oil leak by August doesn't include possibility of hurricanes" width=300 height=169]

Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico would force the shutdown of BP's relief well operations, further hampering what BP has said is the best sure-fire way of plugging the massive oil leak.

"How much time you could potentially lose when you shut down for a hurricane is more or less controlled by the circumstances," said Dave Rensink, the incoming president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

BP has said it hopes to have a relief well in place in August to permanently cut off the gusher. But that's based on the "assumption there's no major tropical disturbances in the Gulf," BP spokesman Ray Viator told CNN.

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