U.S. Sends BP 69-Million-dollar Bill
    2010-06-04 03:11:17     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang Jin
 

Related: US Oil Spill

The U.S. government sent a 69-million-dollar bill to British energy giant BP on Thursday for costs so far in its response to the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill as President Barack Obama planned to make his third trip to the Gulf region Friday.

"The Obama administration today sent a preliminary bill for 69.09 million dollars to BP and other responsible parties for response and recovery operations relating to the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill," the government said in a statement.

"The administration expects prompt payment and will take additional steps as necessary to ensure that BP and other responsible parties, not American taxpayers, pay all of the costs associated with the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill."

The White House said BP was given until July 1 to pay the full 69 million dollars. The bill is the first to be sent to the oil company, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters in a briefing.

Gibbs also said the U.S. government will direct BP to build a third relief well to end the spill if needed.

"If for some reason a problem is incurred in either of those first two wells, we'll ask them to drill a third well."

Meanwhile, the White House said in a statement that Obama will return to the Louisiana Gulf Coast "to assess the latest efforts to counter the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill." It will be his second visit to the region in a week.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, owned by Transocean and leased by BP, sank April 22 some 52 km off Venice, Louisiana, after burning for roughly 36 hours. The untapped wellhead continues gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The White House has called the spill the biggest environmental disaster that the country has ever faced.

With the oil continuing to come ashore, criticism of the spill response mounted. Obama has come under pressure to show that his administration is in charge of the effort to contain and stop the spill.

Opinion polls show many Americans are unhappy with his handling of the six-week-old spill, and Gulf coast residents have complained that the federal government has been slow to act and too dependent on energy giant BP for solutions.

Obama expressed anger Thursday about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and said he was convinced that British Petroleum has not moved quickly enough to respond to the largest spill in U.S. history.

Obama told CNN's Larry King that BP has felt his anger, but added that "venting and yelling at people" won't solve the problem.

"I am furious at this entire situation," he said, but added "I would love to just spend a lot of my time venting and yelling at people, but that's not the job I was hired to do."

"My job is to solve this problem, and ultimately this isn't about me and how angry I am."

His remarks were to air Thursday night.

The U.S. government estimated that the spill has dumped at least 21 million gallons of oil into the Gulf while computer models released Thursday indicates that oil from the massive spill might soon extend along thousands of miles of the Atlantic coast and open ocean as early as this summer.

The U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) models showed that, once the oil in the uppermost ocean has become entrained in the Gulf of Mexico's fast-moving Loop Current, it is likely to reach Florida's Atlantic coast within weeks. It can then move north as far as about Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with the Gulf Stream, before turning east. The oil could then head by Bermuda on its way to Europe.

Researchers say additional model studies are currently under way, looking further out in time, that will indicate what might happen to the oil in the Atlantic.

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