BP Oil Spill Response Costs Top $3 Billion

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British Petroleum's latest figures for its response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster has topped $3 billion, the company reported on Monday.

That figure does not include the $20 billion fund created last month for damages to the Gulf.

According to the report, the costs rose from $2.65 billion last week to $3.1 billlion this week.

Meanwhile, strong winds and choppy seas brought by Hurricane Alex last week have hampered a fleet of small skimmer boats from working off the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

The oversized Taiwanese skimmer, known as "A Whale," completed a series of tests over the weekend in a 25-mile area slightly north of the Deepwater Horizon well that exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and initiating the worst oil spill ever in the area.

The National Weather Service said the rough seas, with waves up to five feet, will likely continue into next week.

"This should remain fairly persistent through the next few days and maybe get a little worse," said meteorologist Mike Efferson, according to The Associated Press.

BP crews continued drilling relief wells, which officials now say are the best technique for plugging the gushing oil spill. The rough weather has delayed drilling two relief wells that may finally plug the spill, though BP officials said they are running slightly ahead of schedule.

The post-hurricane weather has not stopped crews at the site of the blown-out well from containing and burning the leaking oil and gas. But the rough seas have delayed another vessel from joining the effort, which officials say will double the amount of leaking oil being collected and burned at the site.

BP hopes to complete the drilling by mid-August.

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AP contributed to this report.

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