BP Cleanup Costs Rise Above $6 Billion

bp cleanup costs $6 billion
bp cleanup costs $6 billion

Buried in a BP (BP) update on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the total amount that the company has spent so far to clean up the spill, pay claims and cover costs to stop the leak -- $6.1 billion. BP also says that "approximately 30,800 personnel, more than 5,050 vessels, and dozens of aircraft are engaged in the response effort."

The U.K.-based company has recovered 826,000 barrels of oil. This may be part of the reason that the U.S. government and scientists say that a large portion of the oil has dissipated.

BP also noted that it has begun to pay $20 billion into an escrow account that will be managed by an independent board to cover future cleanup costs and liabilities.

BP says that its relief well is at "a measured depth of 17,909 feet ." Now that the leak has been halted by cement poured into the area (known as MC252) that has been spewing oil, the pace at which that new well is being drilled may be slightly less important. BP says that no new oil has been released from the well since July 15.

BP's nightmare is hardly over, nor is that of the hundreds of thousands of people and businesses that ring the Gulf in regions where the oil has come ashore. But it is not now likely that the spill will spread far beyond its current locations and move southward toward the Florida Keys or up the East Coast as some experts had predicted.

BP's costs for the disaster my exceed the $20 billion in the escrow fund, but the possible total costs of the spill are almost certainly no longer rising astronomically.