* Mulls several ideas short of eliminating dividend - source
* BP says unlikely to make dividend decision this week
LONDON (Reuters) - BP Plc (BP.L)(BP.N) is unlikely to decide to cancel its dividend, a person familiar with the British energy giant said on Sunday, as the company faced pressure in the United States to suspend the payment to help pay for damage caused by a huge oil spill.
“We’re considering several ideas short of eliminating the dividend,” the person told Reuters on Sunday.
BP may defer the dividend, pay it in shares or pay into a ring-fenced account until the oil spill liabilities become clearer, the person added.
Earlier on Sunday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was up to BP to decide on its payout to shareholders.
“We are looking at a number of options, but there is unlikely to be a decision on the dividend this week,” a BP spokeswoman said.
Millions of gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf since an April 20 offshore rig blast killed 11 workers and blew out the BP well and shares in BP have lost almost 40 percent of their value.
BP expects the total bill for the Gulf oil clean-up to be $3 billion to $6 billion, but many stock analysts expect the cost to be much higher.
Reporting by Tom Bergin and Julie Crust; Editing by Louise Heavens