BP's Oil Spill Costs Near $4 Billion Mark

An oil cleanup worker rakes the sand in Orange Beach, Ala., July 18, 2010. AP Photo

Oil company BP says that the cost of dealing with the Gulf of Mexico spill has now reached nearly $4 billion.

The company, which last week managed to place a temporary cap on the leak, said Monday it has made payments totaling $207 million to settle individual claims for damages from the spill along the southern coast of the United States.

To date, almost 116,000 claims have been submitted and more than 67,500 payments have been made, totaling $207 million.

Including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, payment of claims and U.S. government costs, BP says it has now spent $3.95 billion.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

The company adds that it is still too early to quantify the eventual total cost.

As the costs mount up, so does the apparent dispute between BP and the federal government about the risks associated with a new seepage of hydrocarbons or gas from the capped well.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration's spill response chief, said a seep had been detected a distance from the busted oil well, and he demanded that BP provide results of further testing of the seabed Sunday night.

Allen didn't say what was coming from the seep, and there were also concerns about bubbles escaping from the wellhead itself, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella.

Oil Well Cap May Be Reopened

Pilloried for nearly three months as it tried repeatedly to stop the leak, BP PLC capped the nearly mile-deep well Thursday and wants to keep it that way. The government's plan, however, is to eventually pipe oil to the surface, which would ease pressure on the fragile well but would require up to three more days of oil spilling into the Gulf.

"No one associated with this whole activity ... wants to see any more oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico," Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, said Sunday. "Right now we don't have a target to return the well to flow."
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