The Obama administration says BP paid two bills totaling about $71 million earlier this month. The government had set a Thursday deadline for the largest of the two bills, which charged the company $69 million.
The administration says the oil company is still reviewing and processing a third bill for $51.4 million. The White House has long said that as the responsible party, BP must pay all costs associated with the response to the spill.
Meanwhile, the oil giant is floating a financial lifeline to the owners, operators and suppliers of the gas stations around America that bear its name and have been struggling because of boycotts prompted by the Gulf spill.
The head of a trade group that represents distributors of BP gasoline in the U.S. told the Associated Press in Houston that the company is in the process of informing outlets that they will be getting cash in their pockets, reductions in credit card fees and help with more national advertising.
John Kleine of the BP Amoco Marketers Association said the cash component will be based on distributors’ volume and will be more for outlets in the Gulf than for those elsewhere in the country.
He estimates the total package BP is offering at roughly $50 million to $70 million.
By Elaine Donnelly
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