25 Jul 2010

BP accused of stalling payments to oil spill victims

2:33 pm on 25 July 2010

Oil company BP is holding up payments to economic victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the administrator of a $US20 billion compensation fund says.

Kenneth Feinberg was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting in southern Alabama at which fishermen and other business owners expressed frustration and anger at what they say is a slow and complex claims process that lacks transparency.

Thousands of businesses in Gulf coast states have been crippled by the oil spill.

Mr Feinberg said he doubted BP was stalling for financial reasons, but rather because they don't know the answers to the questions by claimants.

BP set up the fund in June under pressure from the Obama administration.

Oil spill work to resume

BP has moved ships and workers back to the site of the oil spill at its Gulf of Mexico well, as a storm eased on Saturday.

Two rigs had stopped drilling the relief wells intended to halt the leak for good as the storm approached.

The US official overseeing the spill response, Admiral Thad Allen, said ships and rigs were expected to be back in place on Sunday.

BP last week sealed the leak with a containment cap, stopping the flow of oil for the first time since the explosion on 20 April that killed 11 workers and caused the huge spill.

Officials said the cap will stay in place, after a week of tests that suggest pressure will not force oil out through new leaks.