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

LONDON (Reuters) - BP expects the total bill for the clean up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to be $3-6 billion, an analyst briefed by the oil giant’s Chief of Staff said in a research note on Friday.

“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,” Kim Fustier, oil analyst at investment bank Credit Suisse, said.

Credit Suisse said the note was based on a breakfast briefing with BP Chief of Staff Steve Westwell.

BP said the figure was an extrapolation based on the costs so far and was not a forecast. A spokesman said it was impossible to estimate the clean up bill until after the well is capped.

Citigroup had estimated a containment and clean-up bill of $3.5-7 billion and Merrill Lynch said the bill could be up to $6 billion.

Credit Suisse said Westwell’s comments prompted it to cut the upper estimate of its forecast range by $2 billion.

On top of the bill for capping the well and cleaning up the environmental damage it causes, BP has also committed to paying damages to those affected by the spill, which Credit Suisse estimates will amount to an additional $14 billion.

Anadarko Petroleum owns 25 percent of the leaking well and is responsible for a commensurate part of the cleanup bill. Japan’s Mitsui & Co holds the remaining 10 percent and a commensurate liability.

Reporting by Tom Bergin; editing by Simon Jessop