BP: We Can’t Pay for Spill Damage If We Can’t Drill Offshore

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Photo: Getty Images

BP is in a bind. The oil giant says that if lawmakers pass legislation barring the company from acquiring new offshore-drilling permits, they, uh, may not have enough money to pay for all of the damage caused by that Deepwater Horizon oil spill you may have heard about. Additionally, BP says the ban would leave them without the resources necessary to see through the planned restoration efforts for the Gulf Coast.

“If we are unable to keep those fields going, that is going to have a substantial impact on our cash flow,” said David Nagle, BP’s executive vice president for BP America, in an interview. That, he added, “makes it harder for us to fund things, fund these programs.”

The company, unsurprisingly, isn’t getting much sympathy from those behind the provision in Washington. “The risk of having a dangerous company like BP develop new resources in the gulf is too great,” said Daniel Weiss, the chief of staff of Representative George Miller, who wrote one of the drilling overhaul bills. “Year after year after year, no matter how many incidents they’re involved in, no matter how many fines they’ve had to pay, they never changed their behavior. BP has no one to blame but themselves.”

BP Says Limits on Drilling Imperil Oil Spill Payouts [NYT]