U.S, UK Agree Nothing to Gain from Damaging BP
Source: Reuters 6/26/2010, Location: North America
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed Saturday there was nothing to be gained from damaging BP, a British official said after a meeting between the two leaders.
Cameron had called for greater clarity on the costs BP was facing from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The energy giant's stock has fallen to a 14-year low and $100 billion has been wiped off its market value since the disaster struck on April 20.
British business and shareholder groups have been clamoring for the new prime minister to stand up for BP because of a perception that Obama has been too critical of the company to deflect his own falling poll ratings.
The British official said that Cameron raised the BP issue with Obama when the two leaders had their first face-to-face meeting since the prime minister took office last month.
"Both agreed that there was nothing to be gained from damaging BP as a going concern," the official said. "Both agreed that BP must meet its obligations to cap the leak, clean up the damage and meet legitimate compensation costs."
The company says it has paid out $2.35 billion so far in clean up and compensation costs for the ecological disaster caused by the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. That does not include the $20 billion oil spill fund it has agreed to set up, nor the billions of dollars it will have to pay in fines.
BP was once a predominantly British company but now has global operations and has a major presence in the United States. Around 40 percent of its shareholder base is in Britain and a similar proportion is drawn from the United States.