BP agrees to $20b fund for oil spill costs

09:34, June 18, 2010      

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  BP's chief executive faced a flaying from furious US lawmakers Thursday over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a day after the energy giant pledged at least $20 billion for compensation claims.

  Tony Hayward faced fuming US lawmakers, some of whom have publicly suggested senior BP officials should "commit hara-kiri," after he and BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg were summoned to the White House Wednesday.

  In addition to the $20 billion compensation fund, the British firm announced it would halt shareholder dividends this year, and Svanberg pledged that spill-related claims would be handled "swiftly and fairly."

  "We have made clear from the first moment of this tragedy that we will live up to all our legitimate responsibilities," he said.

  The compensation fund will be run by prominent lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who managed compensation claims by victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and will be overseen by a panel of three judges who can hear appeals.

  The $20 billion pledge comes amid speculation about BP's financial health, which both British and US political leaders have sought to dismiss.

  British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told the BBC Thursday that BP was a "very strong company," and Obama said Wednesday he was "absolutely confident BP will be able to meet its obligation to the Gulf Coast and to the American people."

Source: Global Times


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