Besieged energy giant BP Plc aims to fix its leaking Gulf oil well by July 27, ahead of its earlier target of mid-August, to show investors it has limited its burgeoning oil spill liabilities, the Wall Street Journal said, citing company officials.
The July 27 target date is the day the company is due to report second-quarter earnings and will speak to investors, the Journal said.
In a perfect world with no interruptions, it is possible to be ready to stop the well between July 20 and July 27, the head of BP's Gulf Coast restoration unit Bob Dudley told the newspaper in an interview.
However, Dudley said this perfect case is threatened by the hurricane season and is unlikely.
BP could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.
BP shares have fallen by half since its well blew out in April, spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and soiling the shores of every U.S. Gulf Coast state.
The Journal said BP is also preparing a series of backup plans in case its current operations go awry.
Citing company and administration officials, the paper said BP's plan include connecting the rogue well to existing pipelines in two nearby underwater gas and oil fields.
BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward met with an Abu Dhabi state investment fund on Wednesday, part of a quest for cash to ward off takeovers and help pay for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
BP's shares closed up nearly 4 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, buoyed by investor relief the company had said it does not plan to issue new equity, and speculation the worst is behind for what they see as an underpriced energy giant.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Anshuman Daga)