By Jason Theodorou

BP have spent at least £2 billion in clean up costs, in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. The cost includes containment of the leaking oil well, cleaning up areas impacted by the oil, and drilling relief wells. It also factors in the 47,000 payouts to those whose lives and businesses were affected by the disaster. BP faces at least 95,000 compensation claims.

BP has lost nearly 50% of its value on the stock market, and seen the group at risk of hostile takeovers from rival oil companies. The company is expected to recruit a strategic investor to combat any potential takeovers.

The company has suspended efforts to collect oil from the surface of the ocean due to the impact of Hurricane Alex, which is currently passing through the Gulf of Mexico. It will boost its containment cap system next week, and will install two relief wells in August.

Scientists say that oil is flowing from the damaged well at 35,000 - 60,000 barrels a day. Close to 2 million barrels of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 workers and created the oil spill.

Shares in BP have risen by 0.8% at the start of trading in London, but are still at less than half of their value before the disaster.

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