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BP Says Limits on Drilling Could Interfere With Claims Payouts

The New York Times reported today that BP has indicated it may not be able to pay all of the $20 billion in compensation it has promised victims of the Gulf oil spill if Congress passes a bill to limit the companies future offshore drilling activities.

According to the Times:

[A]s state and federal officials, individuals and businesses continue to seek additional funds beyond the minimum fines and compensation that BP must pay under the law, the company has signaled its reluctance to cooperate unless it can continue to operate in the Gulf of Mexico. The gulf accounts for 11 percent of its global production.

“If we are unable to keep those fields going, that is going to have a substantial impact on our cash flow,” said David Nagle, BP’s executive vice president for BP America, in an interview. That, he added, “makes it harder for us to fund things, fund these programs.”

This news is certain to frustrate the thousands of oil spill victims who have applied for relief under Kenneth Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which, as I’ve noted in stories this week, is slowly chipping away at the 30,000-plus damage claims that have been filed.

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