HOUSTON, June 19 (Xinhua) -- British energy giant BP said Saturday its claim payments related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has exceeded 100 million U.S. dollars.
BP, operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which explode late April and triggered a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, said in a news release it has paid 104 million dollars to residents along the Gulf coast.
The company said it has issued more than 31,000 checks in the past seven weeks.
"Our focus has been on getting money into the hands of fishermen, shrimpers, condo owners and others who have not been able to earn income due to the spill," said Darryl Willis, of the BP claims team.
"We have also been addressing the larger, more complex claims and have been successful in sending more checks to commercial entities," he said.
A 1,000-member claim team is working around the clock to receive and process claims, BP said. It has received about 64,000 claims to date.
BP has agreed to put 20 billion dollars into a third-party claim fund to pay the victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company promised to initially make payments of 5 billion dollars into the new fund this year, which will be followed by a payment of 1.25 billion dollars per quarter in 2011 and beyond until a total of 20 billion dollars has been paid in.
A team of government scientists charged with studying the spill rate estimated that between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels a day are emanating from the well.