x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Obama seeks compensation from BP

The US president will demand billions of dollars from BP executives to pay damages from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

President Barack Obama, seeking to counter an image of detached leadership of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, will demand BP set aside billions of dollars to pay damages from the catastrophe. A day after he vowed to fight the spill "with everything we've got," Mr Obama was to meet at the White House at 10.15am local time with the energy giant's executives, the first time he as done so since the crisis began nearly two months ago.

The worst ecological disaster in US history threatens to distract Mr Obama from his domestic agenda of bringing down nearly double-digit US unemployment and reforming Wall Street. Facing perhaps the biggest challenge of his presidency, Obama accused BP of "recklessness" in a televised address on Tuesday in the solemn setting of the Oval Office. He also used the speech to call for broad legislation to break the US addiction to fossil fuels.

But he stopped short of offering specifics on his strategy for reviving climate legislation, a fight that could prove bruising in an election year when his Democratic party is struggling to defend its dominance in the US Congress. Mr Obama wants BP to establish a fund to guarantee it would cover the billions of dollars needed to clean up the mess and compensate people and businesses hurt by it. *Reuters