British energy giant BP PLC is planning to raise $50 billion to cover the cost of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, while the head of a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the accident vowed yesterday that eligible claims will be paid quickly.


London’s Sunday Times reported that BP plans to raise $10 billion from a bond sale, $20 billion from banks and $20 billion from asset sales over the next two years to cover the costs of the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The newspaper did not cite its sources.


BP said last week it would suspend dividend payments to its shareholders and increase the pace of asset sales to $10 billion this year.


The spill, which began after an April 20 explosion on an offshore rig that killed 11 workers, has caused an environmental and economic disaster along the Gulf Coast, harming the fishing and tourism industries while soiling seashores and marshes.


BP said yesterday that 21,040 barrels of oil (883,680 gallons) leaking into the Gulf of Mexico were collected by its siphoning systems on Saturday. One of the two systems was restarted on Saturday after a 10-hour shutdown to fix a piece of fire-prevention equipment, according to BP.

A large amount of oil continues to leak into the sea from the ruptured well a mile below the ocean surface despite the BP containment systems.