As the Gulf of Mexico oil spill continues to despoil US beaches, BP’s top bosses are bracing for an in-person tongue-lashing from President Barack Obama and a grilling from US lawmakers at congressional committee hearings this week.
The oil giant’s directors have also been considering a strong suggestion from Democrat politicians that billions be put in an independently administered account to swiftly pay damage claims.
The board remained undecided on whether to pay a dividend to BP shareholders, which would further anger the White House.
The British government is staying out of that issue, Foreign Minister William Hague said: “BP will decide on its own dividend, of course, it is a big, err, let’s be clear, it has a big task in front of it, and it has had to work hard in recent weeks, it does have to do its utmost to stop this oil spill, to deal with it satisfactorily on a permanent basis.”
Meanwhile other energy companies have also been putting the boot in to BP.
Top executives at Chevron have said the accident – which killed 11 workers – was “preventable” and would not have happened if BP had used best practice in the oil well design.
Other industry bosses are likely to echo that at this week’s congressional hearings.