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BP: Oil Spill Costs Reach $3.1 Billion

Oil company BP says the cost of clean up efforts and damage claims has now risen to $3.1 billion from the oil spill that has fouled hundreds of kilometers of beaches and damaged the economies of four southeastern Gulf states.

BP said Monday the costs include $147 million in damage payments to people affected by the disaster.  A report in Monday's New York Times newspaper says BP has asked two of its partners in the oil well to contribute $400 million toward cleanup costs.

The partners include Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Mitsui Oil Exploration Company of Japan.

Another report in Britain's Sunday Times newspaper says BP is hoping to raise up to $9.1 billion by selling five-to-10-percent of its shares to a strategic investor.

Rough seas are slowing down efforts to deploy oil skimming and containment vessels as weather forecasters predict waves of one to 2.5 meters high through Thursday.

Crews are testing a massive Taiwanese vessel named "A Whale" that could speed up efforts to skim oil-contaminated waters. Its makers say it can process up to 500,000 barrels of crude a day.

High waves also have delayed plans to connect a containment vessel named the Helix Producer to an undersea pipe linked to the ruptured oil well. Crews say the vessel could double the amount of oil being collected to up to 53,000 barrels a day.

The oil crisis followed an explosion on a drilling rig leased by BP.  The April 20 blast killed 11 workers.

Government estimates say the broken well is gushing up to 60,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf each day.

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