BP faces a huge compensation bill for the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill but the company also wants clarity on its future, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday.
Speaking at a European Union summit, Cameron acknowledged BP would have to spend "a very large amount of money" to settle claims and repair what he called an environmental catastrophe.
He also said BP was an important corporation to both the United States and Britain, and needed stability.
"This is an important multinational company. It's important to the UK and it's also important, I would argue, to the U.S.," he said. Around 40 percent of BP's shareholders are based in Britain and a similar percentage in the U.S., he said.
"What BP wants is some form of clarity and certainty about the future, so that it can be a strong and stable company," he said. He and U.S. President Barack Obama had had a "sensible dialogue" on the company's situation.
BP's Chief Executive Tony Hayward made his first appearance in front of the U.S. Congress on Thursday to try to defend the company against criticism on how it has responded to the April 20 rig explosion and oil spill.
Hayward said the spill "never should have happened" and promised to do whatever it took to repair the damage caused by the massive leak.
Cameron said BP was aware of its obligations and said the company should meet them.
"Clearly BP, BP itself, recognises it has huge obligations and it will have to spend a very large amount of money to cap the leak, to deal with the clean-up, to pay compensation where it's appropriate," he said.
"All of those things it wants to do and of course it should do."
ReutersLast Mod: 17 Haziran 2010, 20:20