BP costs for oil spill response pass $3B

NEW ORLEANS In its latest report of response costs released on Monday, /*BP*/ said the cost climbed nearly half a billion dollars in the past week.

The total of $3.12 billion was up from $2.65 billion a week earlier. The figure does not include a $20 billion fund for Gulf damages BP created last month.

BP is now asking its two minority partners to cover part of the tab, as a million gallons a day spew into the /*Gulf of Mexico*/.

The company billed partners Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Japan's Mitsui for their shares of the cleanup. BP has billed Anadarko, a 25-percent stakeholder in the blown-out well, for more than a quarter billion dollars so far. It also has reportedly billed Mitsui, a 10-percent partner, for $111 million.

Latest Developments:

  • Crews are now getting ready to use a new tool to clean up the devastating spill. It's a giant oil-skimming vessel dubbed "A Whale." It was tested over the weekend, showing off its maneuverability in a 25-mile-square patch of water just north of the site where an April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers and started the worst oil spill in Gulf history.

  • TMT, the shipping firm that owns the vessel, had hoped to test a containment boom system designed to direct greater volumes of oily water into the 12 vents or "jaws" that the ship uses to suck it in, but lingering bad weather in the form of stiff winds and choppy seas has made that impossible, and prevented a flotilla of smaller skimmers from working offshore along the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. The current spate of bad weather is likely to last well into next week, according to the National Weather Service.
  • Weather has not slowed drilling on two relief wells meant to finally plug the spill. BP officials have said they're running slightly ahead of schedule on the drilling, but expect weather or other delays.
  • Early to mid-August is still the timeframe for the completion of the drilling.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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