Oil company BP says it has spent $2 billion responding to the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a statement Monday, the British energy company said its costs to date include ongoing containment efforts, relief well drilling, federal costs and claims paid to affected individuals and businesses.
Donald A. Donahue of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies discusses the health effects of being exposed to oil:
The company last week agreed to establish a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the disaster. It said Monday it has so far paid out $105 million in response to 32,000 claims resulting from the leak, caused by an explosion at a deepwater oil rig two months ago.
Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said Monday construction remains ahead of schedule on the relief wells aimed at stopping the leak. He said up to 60,000 barrels of oil are gushing from the ruptured well each day, although a more precise figure will not be known until a system with no leakage is in place on the broken well.
Meanwhile, oil service firms are asking a federal judge to block a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico.
In other news, internal BP documents show that the company believed a worst-case scenario from a damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico could leak 100,000 barrels a day.
U.S. Congressman Ed Markey released the documents Sunday.
Markey, a senior member of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, has been a vocal critic of BP and said the company misled U.S. lawmakers about the extent of the crisis.
But BP said the document was referring to a hypothetical worst-case scenario, and had nothing to do with how much oil the company actually believes is spilling currently or how much it anticipates will spill.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.