BP agrees to inform US ahead of transactions: report

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BP has agreed to inform the United States government of major transactions that may affect the future shape of the company in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, a British paper reported Wednesday.

The oil giant has bowed to demands to notify the Department of Justice at least 30 days ahead of major financial moves, said The Times daily.

The request came in a letter from Tony West, the US Assistant Attorney-General, to Rupert Bondy, BP's general counsel, on June 23, said the paper.

It asked BP to inform US justice officials in advance of "any planned or contemplated events that may involve substantial transfers of cash or other corporate assets outside of the ordinary course of business."

American authorities should also be told of any "corporate restructuring, reorganisation, acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, sales, divestments or disbursements," it demanded.

BP also agreed to hand over other information to the US, including monthly financial statements and details of credit and loan agreements, said The Times.

The letter set a deadline of last week for BP to agree to the requests.

Fears about the beleaguered oil giant's financial health have been growing, with the British government reportedly preparing a crisis plan in case the company is sunk by the disaster.

BP has spent some 3.12 billion dollars in spill-related costs and has promised to pay another 20 billion dollars into an escrow fund to compensate Americans affected by the disaster.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the worst environmental disaster in US history. It was triggered by the sinking of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig on April 22, two days after an explosion that killed 11 workers.

Up to 60,000 barrels of oil a day are believed to be leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, far outpacing the collection efforts of a system that is capturing around 25,000 barrels a day.

© 2010 AFP

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