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Fire boats battle a fire at the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. -- April 21, 2010. - 


Stacey Vanek-Smith: And oil prices are down this morning around $83 a barrel. Overall, crude's had a pretty bullish year though. British oil giant BP just posted first-quarter profits of more than $6 billion. But last week's explosion at a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has cast a shadow over BP. It'll have to pay for clean-up and could face legal action. From London, Stephen Beard has more.

Stephen Beard: The accident off the coast of Louisiana is the deadliest of its kind in the U.S. for 40 years. Eleven workers are missing, presumed dead. BP is battling to contain the environmental damage. A thousand barrels of crude a day are leaking into the sea. Beaches and wildlife along hundreds of miles of American coastline are at risk.

Peter Kemp is with Energy Intelligence in London. He says the disaster could hit the oil industry's hopes for future growth. It's a major setback for President Obama's plan to open up more offshore drilling.

Peter Kemp: Those groups and forces that are vehemently opposed to any further opening up offshore will obviously get a boost from this calamitous accident.

He says the disaster is another blow for BP's reputation in the U.S. The company received a record fine following a fire at its Texas City refinery in 2005.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.