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Storm clouds advance upon a BP sign in Peckham, south London. - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: BP has pulled out of a controversial plan to drill for oil off the coast of Greenland. The British oil giant confirmed today that it would not bid for a project it had earlier been involved with. Why the sudden change of heart?

The BBC's Rebecca Singer reports there are some theories.

REBECCA SINGER: BP won't give a reason for ruling itself out of the race to drill for oil off the coast of Greenland. But the country's prime minister says a company's safety record is very important to Greenland when granting licenses to drill. And the incident in the Gulf of Mexico is likely to have influenced its decision.

Malcolm Bracken is an oil analyst at stockbroker's Redmayne Bentley. He says BP won't spend the money pursuing a license it doesn't think it's going to win.

MALCOLM BRACKEN: It's going to have to concentrate a lot harder on where it drills. It's going to be taking fewer opportunities than it would have done because it's had to find $30 billion to pay for the damage.

But BP insists it hasn't been deterred its long-term plans. It's due to start drilling off the Libyan coast in the next few weeks and says it's still interested in bidding for other licenses around the world.

In London, I'm the BBC's Rebecca Singer for Marketplace.