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BP Wants Future Spill Claims Limited

Source: Reuters 7/8/2011, Location: North America

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BP Plc wants to limit future claims related to its Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster as the region's economy recovers, the oil company said in a document.

The Gulf economy is strong and "there is no basis to assume that claimants, with very limited exceptions, will incur a future loss related to the oil spill," BP said in a paper filed with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).

Oystermen, whose beds have been destroyed by crude, should be considered for future payments, the British oil company said.

Kenneth Feinberg is the administrator of the $20 billion GCCF fund established at the urging of President Barack Obama to compensate people and businesses for losses related to the BP oil disaster.

BP's deepwater Macondo well ruptured in April 2010, causing a fiery explosion that killed 11 rig workers and spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. The accident closed waters to fishing, disrupted tourism and caused the government to shut down deepwater exploration for months.

But now, Gulf residents are getting back to work and industries are on the rebound, BP said, citing lodging, fishing and other data.

"The GCCF welcomes any and all input from any interested sources including BP," Feinberg said in an email. "We take all of the submissions 'under advisement.'"

BP supports the payment of legitimate claims and future losses that are substantiated, but the company objects to the GCCF's "practice of assuming futures losses on certain claims," the company said in an email.

At the beginning of July, the GCCF had paid $4.5 billion in claims to 195,000 claimants. There are also about $430 million worth of offers that are under consideration by Gulf residents.

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