June 11 (Reuters) – British energy giant BP is weighing its options to cut or defer its second-quarter dividend, as it faces growing public anger over its handling of massive oil spill in the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Wall Street Journal said, citing Chief Executive Tony Hayward’s interview.
"We are considering all options on the dividend. But no decision has been made," Hayward told the paper.
The company's second quarter dividend is due to be announced on July 27.
BP board could also consider paying all or part of dividend in "scrip," effectively an IOU to shareholders, the Journal said.
BP is exploring ways to quell growing public anger in the U.S. after government scientists doubled their estimate of the amount of oil gushing out of its ruptured Gulf of Mexico well.
The news that the flow rate may be as high 40,000 barrels (1.68 million gallons/6.36 million litres) per day came after U.S. markets closed on Thursday.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused BP of a "lack of integrity" and urged the company to suspend its dividend to ensure victims of the oil spill are fully compensated.
Transocean's Deepwater Horizon rig, under contract with BP Plc, exploded and caught fire on April 20 while it was putting the finishing touches on a well about a mile (1.6 km) beneath the ocean surface. It sank two days later.
The accident, which killed 11 people, has triggered a huge oil spill that is threatening an environmental and economic disaster along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
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