BP shares plummet as cost of oil spill is revealed

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Shares in BP plunged to new 14-year low as the under-fire firm said the cost of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster had reached £1.57 billion.

The battered stock fell more than 6 per cent to just above 300p with no sign of an end to the troubles for the company.

Chief executive Tony Hayward insisted the oil group's health had stabilised and was in the "intensive care" ward when he met company staff in Sunbury.

But investors continued to head for the exit, despite assurances in an update that progress on the relief well and measures to improve the capture of oil from the leaking well were on track.

The group was reportedly planning a mammoth fundraising programme to shore up its finances as the clean-up bill soars.

As well as the ongoing cost of the operation and claims, it has also set aside a £13.5 billion compensation fund for those affected by the spill.

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