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BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico cost rises to over $3 billion
London, Jul 5 (Agencies):
Published on 5 Jul. 2010 11:21 PM IST
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BP announced today that its costs from America’s worst-ever oil spill have topped $3 billion, and that it’s accelerating cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico after a lull during Hurricane Alex’s storm surge.
The price tag is up from a figure of $2.35 billion that BP announced late last month. With American financial markets closed for the 4th of July holiday, trading was light today on London markets, and BP’s shares don’t appear to have taken a hit after the company’s announcement. In fact, BP’s stock was up 2.4 percent in early London trading today.
BP spent nearly $147 million to pay out claims for those whose businesses – fishermen, oil workers and those who work in tourism – have been devastated since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, operated by BP. Nearly 95,000 claims have been submitted so far, and more than 47,000 payments have been made, BP said in a statement today.
“The cost of the response to date amounts to approximately $3.12 billion, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the gulf states, claims paid, and federal costs,” the statement said.
BP is footing the bill for about 44,500 people involved in efforts to capture oil at the blown-out undersea well, including engineers guiding sophisticated remote-controlled robots a mile under water, as well as cleanup workers on shore. “More than 6,563 vessels and some 113 aircraft are now engaged in the response effort,” it said.
The $3.12 billion figure is in addition to a $20 billion fund BP agreed to set up last month, under intense pressure from the White House. The fund will be independently administered, and will allocate money toward the cleanup and compensation claims.
Today’s statement also suggested that costs would continue to rise. “It is too early to quantify other potential costs and liabilities associated with the incident,” it said.
Meanwhile, operations to skim oil from the Gulf of Mexico’s surface have resumed after what BP called a three-day lull because of Hurricane Alex. In most gulf states, though, the lull lasted about a week because of 10-foot waves that prevented smaller skimming vessels from heading out to sea.
The storm has been downgraded to a tropical depression.
So far, a total of about 673,497 barrels (23.5 million gallons) of “oily liquid” have been skimmed off the water, BP said. About 275 controlled burns have also been carried out, it said, removing some 238,000 barrels of oil from the sea’s surface.
Those numbers have been revised down slightly from BP’s most recent statement last month. No reason was given for the change.
The total length of containment boom – synthetic barriers floated atop the water to try to contain the oil spill and prevent it from reaching coastlines – now stands at 550 miles, which is only 20 miles more than the estimate BP released in late June.
Results are also expected today from test runs of vessel billed as the world’s largest oil skimmer, which could be put into regular service in the gulf as early as this week.
The converted cargo ship, A Whale, spent the weekend attempting to clean up a 25-square mile area just north of BP’s blown-out undersea well.
The Taiwanese-flagged ship is three and a half football fields long and extends 10 stories high. It’s outfitted with 12 vents on either side of its bow, which experts hope will be able to suck up as many as 21 million gallons of oil-tainted water each day.
But its never-before-used technology means that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will need to sign off on the quality of the water that the ship dumps back into the gulf, after separating out the oil. Test results due back today will help the agency make that decision.

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