BP to take $1.7B Deepwater Horizon charge

Response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horiz

Response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horiz

BP is expected to take a $1.7bn (£1.2bn) charge in its fourth quarter results as it winds down settlement over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the US.

It badly damaged BP's reputation and has cost the company tens of billions of dollars in fines and settlements.

In London, BP shares were trading at 521.80 pence, down 2.05 percent.

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The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010 killed 11 workers and gushed almost 5m barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The company said the settlement program, established as part of the class action related to the spill, is approaching its closure.

Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said: "With the claims facility's work very almost done, we now have better visibility into the remaining liability". It covers remaining claims for losses in connection with the incident, as well as other claims settled by court.

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BP payments in 2018 that are related to the incident are expected to be about 3 billion United States dollars.

BP's fourth-quarter profits are under threat from multibillion-dollar charges related to the company's fatal blowout in the Gulf of Mexico eight years ago and changes to the US corporate tax rate.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Brendan Warn says the higher payments are "completely manageable", though by his reckoning the company will need to rely on disposals of $1bn to achieve "cash flow neutrality".

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"We acknowledge the possibility that there might be further provisions in the next few quarters, as the remaining claims might prove to exceed BP's expectations".

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