Business

BP oil spill costs reach $2.65bn

Boats cleaning up the oil spill
Image caption The clean-up costs are mounting for BP

BP has said the cost of cleaning up the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has now reached $2.65bn (£1.76bn).

The oil giant said this included the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to Gulf states and claims paid.

The total has risen to an average of $100m a day over the past three days - the highest daily average so far.

Later, BP said Tropical Storm Alex would delay plans to boost its oil-siphoning capacity until next week.

More than 39,000 people are now involved in the response effort, the company said, as oil from the spill washed onto the beaches of Mississippi resort town Biloxi for the first time.

More than 80,000 claims have so far been submitted and the company has made 41,000 payments totalling more than $128m.

BP added it was too early to quantify other potential costs and liabilities arising from the incident.

Russia visit

BP's embattled chief executive Tony Hayward is in Moscow where he has held meetings with Russian officials including Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin.

A spokesperson for Mr Sechin said Mr Hayward had given assurances about BP's commitment to its strategic partnerships in Russia.

BP has denied speculation in recent weeks that it is planning to sell some of its Russian investments, which include joint venture TNK-BP and a small stake in state-run oil company Rosneft.

Before the meeting, Mr Sechin had told reporters that Mr Hayward was about to resign. The claim was quickly and categorically denied by BP.

"The issue of Hayward's resignation was not discussed," a spokesperson for Mr Sechin said.

BP's operations in the country account for a quarter of the company's total oil production.

Compensation

BP's shares made a rare move higher on Monday, climbing 3.66% to 315p in early trading. It later fell back to close just over 1% higher.

BP

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494.75 p +
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On Friday they hit a 14-year low of 298p amid speculation that the company may have to seek extra funds to pay for its oil spill costs.

BP's share price has more than halved since the oil disaster began in April, wiping about $90bn off the value of the company.

The company made an annual profit of nearly $14bn last year, but there is great uncertainty over the impact that legal action and compensation claims could have.

BP has already said it will not be paying any dividends to its shareholders this year, after agreeing to finance a $20bn (£13.5bn) clean-up and compensation fund for the oil spill.

Political attacks

On Sunday, US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron discussed BP's problems at the G20 summit in Canada.

A Downing Street statement issued after the meeting between Mr Obama and Mr Cameron, said: "The leaders agreed that BP should meet its obligations to cap the leak, clean up the damage and meet legitimate compensations.

"They also agreed that it was to both countries' advantage for BP to remain a strong and stable company."

There was no official response from Washington, though a senior US official emphasised to reporters at the summit that BP's obligations "have got to be met".

BP will be hoping the talks put an end to political attacks on the company.

Officials in the US administration have criticised BP's response to the spillage, and mounted strong attacks on chief executive Tony Hayward.

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