Assistance vessels hover over an oil sheen near the source of the BP oil spill.
Assistance vessels hover over an oil sheen near the source of the BP oil spill. - 
Listen To The Story


Bill Radke: Reports this morning seem to confirm that the capped BP well is seeping oil. The company and the U.S. government are at odds about exactly what to do next. Joining us is Marketplace's John Dimsdale, from our Washington bureau. Good morning, John.

John Dimsdale: Good morning, Bill.

Radke: How serious a setback is this in the fight to stop this spill?

Dimsdale: Well if it means that the cap isn't secure, than engineers have a very tough decision to make -- whether to try to ease some of the pressure on the cap by opening the well up again and let the oil flow through pipes to the surface or leave the cap alone and wait for the relief wells that are getting close to more permanently sealing this rupture.

Radke: We know the cost, John, is huge to people in the Gulf coast. How much is this costing BP so far?

Dimsdale: The company says $4 billion and counting. And it's trying to sell some of its assets to pay for that. Another reason BP stock is lowered today is that the talks on the sale of BP's Alaskan oil have broken down. But Chris Skrebowski with Peak Oil Consulting in England says BP has some other options, including attracting investments from oil-rich Middle Eastern countries. Skrebowski says that investment income would be better for BP shareholders.

Chris Skrebowski When you've had such a severe threat to the value of your holding, and there's a realistic option that would bring that back up in terms value, you're likely to be rather more sympathetic.

Now just one more bit of news on the spill's costs. The federal administrator of the spill compensation fund, Ken Feinberg, says the wages earned by people working on BP's cleanup will be deducted from their claims against the company. And that means that some of the money BP is spending now will reduce its future liabilities.

Radke: Marketplace's John Dimsdale in Washington. Thanks, John.

Dimsdale: Thanks, Bill.