Money Matters - Simplified

July earliest for more tankers at spill

London -- Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Friday more tankers would not be on site until July at the earliest at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The tankers are needed to hold and haul away the contained oil spewing from the underwater well that new estimates say are spewing up to 40,000 barrels of oil a day into the fragile gulf environment.

Allen, the White House liaison on the disaster, said British petroleum giant BP and the U.S. government needed "a unified effort," to deal with the oil spill, despite indications that tensions are rising, the Wall Street Journal reported.

After a meeting in Houston, one BP executive said, "The demand is chilling. The administration keeps pushing the boundaries of what we (BP) are responsible for."

White House senior adviser David Axelrod, in an interview, said it would be hard for BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward to "play the victim" after the damage the oil spill has caused.

The Times of London reported Friday that BP, pressured by the Obama administration, is canceling second quarter dividends and placing $2.4 billion in an escrow account to cover liabilities in the affected region.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill began April 20 with a deadly oil rig explosion and has become the largest oil spill disaster in U.S. history.

Sources said the company plans to announce a suspension of second-quarter dividends July 27 and further dividend suspensions are possible.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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