BP Estimates Oil Spill Cleanup Costs At $3-6 Billion

On the same day scientists studying the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico say that previous guesses at the amount of crude leaked into the water have been greatly understated, British Petroleum has put together their first estimate of what it’s going to cost the oil giant to clean up the mess.

According to an analyst from Credit Suisse who met with BP’s Chief of Staff this morning, “BP has incurred $1.43bn of total costs to date, and expects the total costs of containment and clean-up to be around $3-6 billion.”

This number is in line with cleanup cost estimates projected by Citigroup, which had put a range of $3.5-7 billion on BP’s cleanup tab, and Merrill Lynch, which had pegged the high end of cleanup costs at $6 billion.

A rep for BP was more cautious about this number, saying that no real estimate could be given until after the well is capped.

Of course, if these estimates are correct, the cleanup cost will pale in comparison to the amount BP is expected to have to pay out to area businesses that have been crippled by the spill. Credit Suisse puts that number at around $14 billion.

Meanwhile, scientists have once again increased their guess as to the amount of crude oil that has leaked into the Gulf. The latest figures put that estimate at anywhere from 42 million gallons to 100 million gallons.

By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill only totaled around 11 million gallons, which means this disaster could already be almost 10 times the size of that fiasco.

BP sees $3-$6 bln oil spill cleanup bill: analyst [Reuters]

Forget Valdez, scientists say BP oil spill may have leaked 42M-100M gallons into Gulf of Mexico [NY Daily News]