BP oil spill clean up bill set to top $1bn in weeks

THE cost of cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is is inching closer to $1bn.

So far, BP has spent $760m as it pushes on with its efforts to plug a leak currently spewing thousands of barrels of oil into the sea. Analysts expect costs to breach the billion dollar mark within the next month.

The leak began after a 20 April explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 people.

Meanwhile, BP said it would spend $500m over the next ten years on a review into the long-term environmental impact of the spill.

“BP has made a commitment to doing everything we can to lessen the impact of this tragic incident on the people and environment of the Gulf Coast. We must make every effort to understand that impact,” said BP chief executive Tony Hayward.

The 10-year research programme will be entirely funded by the oil giant and comes just days after US interior secretary Ken Salazar accused BP of missing “deadline after deadline” in its efforts to plug the leak in the ocean bed.

The BP grant will help independent scienctists assess the impact of the escaping oil on marine life and the long-term effects of the chemical dispersants used in the clean-up.