Obama pushes for bill to ensure BP fully pays for Gulf oil spill

19 May 2010 06:15  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--US president Barack Obama was strongly pushing on Wednesday for new legislation to ensure that BP fully shoulders the cost of ongoing Gulf oil spill containment and clean-up operations, expressing dismay that the bill had stalled in the Senate.

The Obama administration had proposed to significantly increase the cap on the liability of energy companies on oil spill cases to $10bn (€8.2bn) from $75m, but the proposal was blocked in the Senate twice, according to media reports.

“I am disappointed that an effort to ensure that oil companies pay fully for disasters they cause has stalled in the US Senate on a partisan basis," Obama said on Wednesday (Singapore time) in a statement.

"This manoeuvre threatens to leave taxpayers, rather than the oil companies, on the hook for future disasters like the BP oil spill," he added.

Obama had said in early May that BP should foot the full cost of the clean-up and containment operations at the Gulf of Mexico since 20 April, when the oil company’s rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana.

The incident caused an oil well 5,000ft under the ocean surface to spew out an estimated 5,000 bbl/day of oil, with the spill threatening to hit the shorelines of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

"I urge the Senate Republicans to stop playing special interest politics and join in a bipartisan effort to protect taxpayers and demand accountability from the oil companies," Obama said.

BP had put the cost of the Gulf oil spill clean-up at $625m so far, with the company still planning to apply new methods and technologies to staunch the flow of oil gushing out of the deepwater well, which has been going on for nearly a month now.

A mile-long tube it installed to contain the leak was extracting about 2,000 bbls/day of oil from the well into drillship Deepwater Enterprise.

($1 = €0.82)

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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