Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in Gulf of Mexico costs BP $5.2bn

Oil giant BP has said that the cost of tackling the Gulf of Mexico disaster had risen to $8bn so far.

Oil giant BP has said that the cost of tackling the Gulf of Mexico disaster had risen to $8bn so far.

The ruptured well has been shut since July 15 after pumping almost five million barrels of oil into the Gulf when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank in April.

BP this week began work to replace the rig's blow-out preventer, which failed with disastrous consequences. The firm has paid out 428 million dollars (£278 million) in claims so far.

Provisions for the crisis sent BP crashing $17bn into the red for the April-June period - its first loss in 18 years.

The relief well which will seal the well permanently is likely to be completed in mid-September.

The group said more than 28,400 staff are working on the relief efforts as well as 4,050 vessels and dozens of aircraft. At the peak of the crisis 3.5 million feet of containment boom was used to rein the spill, although this has now been reduced to 1.72 million.

BP has come under heavy fire in the US but the political pressure has eased since the oil firm set up a $20bn fund to meet compensation payouts and costs.

The crisis cost former chief executive Tony Hayward his job after a series of PR blunders and he will make way in October for fellow board member Bob Dudley, who becomes BP's first overseas boss.

The longer-term fall-out such as fines, penalties and potential legal action is also set to add to the bill and spread the pain over a number of years.

BP hopes to sell around 10 per cent of its production assets over the next 18 months, with the aim of raising $30bn to beef up its balance sheet to meet the crisis.

He continued: "It is our view that for the Government to carry on licensing for new offshore drilling without a new environmental assessment is in breach of European and UK environmental law, and is irrational."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We are carefully considering the points made by Greenpeace.

"However, we believe we have a robust regulatory regime and, for the 26th licensing round, we have complied and will continue to comply with all the required environmental processes.

"The UK has an extremely rigorous safety and environmental regime.

"We will not consent to the drilling of any well unless we are convinced it is designed to the very highest standards, that the equipment used is fully tested and that the people working on the well are fully trained."

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