Energy giant BP said yesterday that seepage near its Gulf of Mexico well was unrelated to the massive oil leak that has at least temporarily been capped.


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 trading 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.


Officials are monitoring the pressure in the well to gauge whether it is structurally sound. An intact well would help when a relief well intercepts and tries to plug the leak, but damage could complicate that effort.

White House energy adviser Carol Browner told CBS’s “The Early Show” the seepage was found less than two miles from the well.