Incoming CEO Bob Dudley told analysts he expects to pay less than the $20 billion in claims, but said the total price tag is expected to be around $32 billion.
Dudley’s assurances resulted in Citigroup analysts predicting that BP, which suspended paying dividends to its stockholders, to be ready to pay dividends in the fourth quarter. Another bank, Bernstein, said it would be more like the first quarter of next year before the company can start paying out.
BP is paying into the $20 billion escrow fund in installments. It will be fully funded at the end of 2013.
The fund is meant to pay claims by those hurt financially by the spill, such as fisherman and hotel owners.