Crisis-hit BP says will pay for six sand barriers

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BP said on Thursday it will pay for the construction of six sand barriers to help keep oil from reaching Louisiana's fragile wetlands, pushing its total costs well above 1.0 billion dollars.

"BP today announced that it supports the US government's decision to proceed with the construction of six sections of the Louisiana barrier islands proposal," the group said in a statement on Thursday.

"The company will fund the estimated 360 million dollars (293 million euros) it will cost to construct the six sections."

BP had already revealed on Tuesday that the cost of its response to the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill had risen to about 990 million dollars (811 million euros).

This will now rise to 1.350 billion dollars, including the cost of the six barrier sections.

US officials had ordered BP on Wednesday to pay for five more sand barriers in the Mississippi Delta to help minimize potential damage to vulnerable shorelines from the gushing Deepwater Horizon well.

BP added on Wednesday that it would not manage or contract the work for the construction, and would make staged payments towards the project.

"BP is committed to implementing the most effective measures to protect the coastline of Louisiana and reduce the impact of the oil and gas spill in the Gulf of Mexico," added Chief Executive Tony Hayward in the statement.

"The federal government and the state of Louisiana have agreed that the barrier islands construction is an effective response to the spill, and we look forward to working with them on this project."

The six-week-old spill, now the worst in US history, began with an April 20 explosion that ripped through the Deepwater Horizon rig, 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers.

More than 125 miles (200 kilometers) of Louisiana coast have been contaminated, triggering long-term fears for the region's already endangered wildlife.

© 2010 AFP

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