President Obama and BP agreed Wednesday on a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the oil leak damaging the Gulf Coast’s environment and economies.
BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg apologized to Americans for the worst spill in U.S. history and said that the company is suspending dividends to shareholders to help pay for the costs. BP said it would cut four quarters of dividends, reduce its investment program and sell $10 billion of assets to fund the planned $20 billion fund, which will be administered by a body independent, to pay for its oil leak.
The president announced the agreement following a four-hour meeting with company officials at the White House. He also said the company agreed to establish a separate $100 million fund to compensate oil rig workers laid off as a result of his six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.
“The structure we are establishing today is an important step toward making the people of the Gulf Coast whole again, but it will not turn things around overnight,” the president said.
Watch the president’s full remarks:
President Obama said his administration told BP to move more equipment and technology into place to help capture the leaking oil.
“In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well,” the president said. “That is still not good enough. We will continue to press BP and draw on our best minds and resources to capture the rest of the oil until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that is expected to stop the leak completely.”