BP Bob DudleyBP's incoming CEO Bob Dudley promised to continue long-term financial support for people affected by the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill, speaking at a press conference in Biloxi, Miss., on Friday.

Dudley also said that the company may start scaling back its clean-up efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, mainly because the amount of oil on the surface of the water has dramatically decreased in recent days. However, he says that BP remains committed to cleaning up the damage wrought by the spill.

Dudley's assurances come at a time when environmentalists, residents and people who rely on businesses in the Gulf Coast for work, are concerned that BP and the U.S. Coast Guard will pull up stakes and withdraw their financial support once the catastrophic oil leak is no longer spewing a drop of oil.

"We have written about 80,000 checks, more than a quarter billion dollars, but we realize this is not perfect and there's more to go," Dudley said at the televised press conference.

Currently claims for damages due to the leak are being paid out of BP coffers, but the company announced in mid-June that it was setting up an independent $20 billion Gulf Coast Compensation Fund that will be responsible for handling claims. It expects the fund to be up and running in late August. Gulf Coast residents who've lost their jobs or suffered declines in business due to the oil spill, have complained of slow reimbursements or little response from BP.

"We need to get this moving as fast as we can," said Dudley.

In addition, BP announced Friday a $100 million Rig Worker Assistance Fund to support unemployed rig workers who are experiencing economic hardship as a result of the moratorium on deepwater drilling imposed by the United States federal government. This fund will replace a similar fund announced in mid-June for oil rig workers who lost their jobs because of the temporary moratorium on offshore oil drilling.

The incoming CEO also said former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief James Lee Witt will support BP's (BP) long-term recovery efforts. But it appears that Witt will be overseeing a diminishing clean-up effort. Dudley said that on beaches where there is no oil, there is no need for workers in hazmat suits and that it's not too early to begin scaling back the clean up, according to an Associated Press report. Yet environmentalists are likely to applaud Dudley's assertions that the environmental impact of the catastrophe has not been overblown.

Dudley, who grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is considered to be more committed to the area and a stronger leader than Tony Hayward, the embattled BP CEO, who is widely viewed as mismanaging the company's response to the disastrous April 20 oil rig explosion and resulting oil spill. Dudley will officially assume the CEO post on Oct. 1.

BP is planning to try a "static kill" Tuesday to seal the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and expects to have a relief well finished by the end of August, according to a Reuters report.

Dudley's press conference, by coincidence or not, comes on the day that the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on oil spill legislation that would govern such things as new safety standards for oil drilling.

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Reese

I think what Evie is referring to is the fact that BP has now decided to change the policy on when people will be paid. When we originally filed in Ft. Walton Beach, we were told that the Owners of vacation rental properties would be paid starting April 21st when the Oil spill was announced. All of my Gulf front properties started calling and cancelling, with one owner in particular losing $38,800 in revenue just for the month of May. NOW, BP has decided the State of Florida will NOT be paid for May but only June and July. I don't know of any Business owner who has received compensation as of yet. I have Owners who havent made a house payment all Summer because BP is dragging their feet knowing the Summer revenue is what gets these people through the winter months also. I will say the subcontractors and housekeepers were paid for May only because their checks were under $5,000. This I know for a fact, because I took my cleaners to the BP office and showed them how to file their claims and they were walking out with checks! But when it comes to owning up to the high $$$ accounts the money isn't being paid. So basically it is a pick and choose type of deal, which is totally wrong. BP lied and they need to own up to what they promised. If we knew May wouldn't have been paid to the owners, I for one wouldn't have offered full refunds to guests who were concerned about the oil spill even though our beaches were open and are still open! I won't even get started on how many times they have lost "completed scanned files" and how many different reps we have had from day one. So I agree with Evie, actions do speak louder than words!

August 02 2010 at 3:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
beemerboxer

Tony Hayward did the best he could when the BP rig started to implode and pollute the Gulf. A scapegoat was needed; Hayward is possessed of very few attributes where addressing the public is concerned. His failure lay in his inability to communicate in the way people, including government, wanted to hear. Hayward is an able and very capable man, were he not so, the incoming CEO would have a very hard time making things right. Dudley is also a competent man but blessed with communication skills that Haywood lacked. The scapegoat has been axed and yet moved within BP where he can be of use. Good luck to Dudley; if he fails then he too will be exiled to Siberia. That is how it works.

July 31 2010 at 10:22 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
eglodic

As far as BP & their wonderful ideas go in my opinion "ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN
WORDS". Where are the checks for the people who were effected by this disaster?, why arent' BP's promises been kept? They keep changing who the people in charge are & how they're helping but I'd like to exactly what they are doing & how many of the individuals in the Gulf coast states have been helped! LET'S GIVE OUT THE EXACT DATA TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE & TO THE INDIVIDUALS TO HAVE SUFFERED FROM THIS DISASTER!!!!!
I'M TIRED OF HEARING HOW WONDERFUL BP IS BEING - I WANT TO SEE WHAT THEY HAVE ACTUALLY HAVE DONE - EXACTLY HOW MANY AMERICANS HAVE RECEIVED THEIR CHECKS, HOW MANY HAVE NEW JOBS, HOW MANY ARE GETTING THE HEALTH BENIFITS THAT MANY MAY NEED BECAUSE OF THEIR EXPOSURE TO THIS OIL!!!
LET'S HELP OUR FELLOW AMERICANS & NOT LISTEN TO ALL THE CRAP WE'RE HEARING FROM BP ABOUT HOW GREAT THEY ARE.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!!!!
Evie Glodic

July 31 2010 at 10:17 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to eglodic's comment
tool3line2

Evie,

Who the hell do you think you are??????? No one is saying that BP is wonderful, but Evie, no matter how important you think you are, you are not entitled to access the private information on individuals who are receiving checks.

Prove that "at least 110,000 claims have been filed with BP so far, and $183 million have been paid out" as widely reported in June is not true!!
Or that BP has not paid $245 million in grants to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida for cleanup costs or to promote tourism.

Otherwise, just shut up.

July 31 2010 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drkmcgowan

BP has made its commitments to clean this mess up and we should let them do it. My concern is with the dreadful media coverage of this sad accident. Half truths and conspiracy theories abound.....!

July 31 2010 at 1:13 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply