BP says oil spill compensation fund running out

This is a Wednesday, May 15, 2013 file photo of vehicles as they pass a BP petrol station in Manchester, England. British energy giant BP admitted on Tuesday that its US$20 billion (S$ 24 billion) fund to compensate victims of the 2010 US oil sp
This is a Wednesday, May 15, 2013 file photo of vehicles as they pass a BP petrol station in Manchester, England. British energy giant BP admitted on Tuesday that its US$20 billion (S$ 24 billion) fund to compensate victims of the 2010 US oil spill disaster has almost run out of cash. -- PHOTO: AP

LONDON (AFP) - British energy giant BP admitted on Tuesday that its US$20 billion (S$ 24 billion) fund to compensate victims of the 2010 US oil spill disaster has almost run out of cash.

The London-listed energy major made the announcement in its latest results statement, in which BP also revealed a huge switch back into net profit during the second quarter of 2013.

It signalled it would pay further disaster claims from future profits.

BP said it had increased the estimated amount of cash needed to compensate businesses and individuals from US$8.2 billion to US$9.6 billion.

This means that just US$300 million is left out of the US$20 billion Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust fund, which was created by BP to settle legal obligations stemming from the catastrophe.

The group added that its total estimated bill for the disaster stands at US$42.4 billion, including clean-up costs and fines.

The announcement was made more than three years after a deadly explosion on BP-leased drilling rig Deepwater Horizon killed 11 people and sent 4.9 million barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

That sparked the worst environmental disaster in US history and forced BP to sell billions of dollars of assets.