BP CEO Robert Dudley told Businessweek in an interview Thursday that continuing to send millions of dollars to people who claim they were hurt by the 2010 disaster is “not good for America.” While BP is trying to halt its payments and reduce the amount owed to victims, Dudley claimed the company has been the wronged party:
We are still committed to make sure that legitimate claimants and people who were true victims of the spill are paid. [...]
Quite frankly, the results have been really strange. The claims going through a claims facility have resulted in absurd results, and millions of dollars are going out to pay people who suffered, in many cases, no losses from the spill. And this is just not right. I don’t think it’s right for America. We’re a big investor in the United States, and we’ve challenged this really strongly. It’s just not right.
Dudley’s claim that BP has in good faith agreed to all of the damages misrepresents the current state of affairs. The company has actually been working to reduce its debts. BP had asked a federal judge to halt spill payments, though the judge decided against BP yesterday. That will not prevent BP from fighting claims with its new hotline that pays watchdogs to report fraud.
Since scientists can’t quite quantify the true environmental or economic consequences of the Gulf Oil spill, exactly who was impacted is still unclear. For instance, tar continues to wash up onto the coast.
Based on the interview, the BP CEO is perplexed as to why Americans perceive the oil industry badly. This negative perception might have something to do with receiving billion-dollar subsidies for a highly profitable industry that charges high gas prices. BP claims it pays too much in taxes, despite receiving an annual $300 million in estimated tax breaks on top of a $12 billion profit last year.