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BP weighs dividend cut as U.S. doubles oil leak estimate

BP weighs dividend cut as U.S. doubles oil leak estimate

BP said yesterday it is considering cutting its dividend payments, as U.S. officials more than doubled the estimated size of the Gulf of Mexico oil leak soiling fragile shores.
"We are considering all options on the dividend. But no decision has been made," BP chief executive Tony Hayward told The Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper said BP's board may consider cutting or deferring its second-quarter dividend - due to be announced on July 27 - or even issuing dividend payments as scrip, effectively a means of delaying payment to shareholders.
President Barack Obama and U.S. lawmakers have turned their sights on the BP dividend, a lucrative source of income for many U.S. and British pension funds, even as the firm's shares slumps in the face of what is likely to be a multi-billion-dollar cleanup bill.
U.S. criticism has centered on Hayward, who Obama suggested he would have fired if the executive were his employee. BP's chairman has been summoned to a White House meeting with Obama next week.
Amid fears of an anti-British backlash in the United States over the spill, British Prime Minister David Cameron will discuss BP's handling of crisis with Obama over the weekend.
Data suggesting the oil's flow could be upwards of 40,000 barrels a day - some 1.68 million gallons - rounded off a miserable day for BP on Thursday when its share price hit its lowest level since 1997.
Investors worry Obama intends to exact a heavy price from the British energy giant as its potential liability soars and U.S. officials look to suspend shareholder dividends until compensation is paid.


Updated : 2021-10-18 04:21 GMT+08:00