BP says oil spill costs reach $2 billion

BP PLC says it has now spent $2 billion responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and with no end in sight, that sum will continue to rise.

BP last week agreed to set up a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the disaster on the U.S. southern coast.

BP says today that it has so far paid out $105 million to 32,000 claimants.

Oil spill stirs study, debate over health impacts

ATLANTA (AP) - Public health officials and scientists will be gathering in New Orleans this week to talk about whether any health problems could be caused by the Gulf oil spill.

The group will also talk about the best way to watch for any potential medical issues. The meeting is being organized by the Institute of Medicine at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The government has already set aside $10 million for research.

Health officials say there seems to be little reason to worry at this point. But they're more uncertain about the long-term, particularly for workers cleaning up oil from the BP spill in the Gulf.

Far offshore, crews drill into Gulf to stop oil

ON THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) - Imagine a target the size of a salad plate three miles away.

That illustrates the difficulty for the teams drilling the relief wells to stop the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

None of them have done it before because deep sea interventions are rare. If the workers miss or move too slowly, oil will keep pouring into the sea.

Workers aboard Transocean Ltd.'s Development Driller II say they're confident of success just the same.

A second ship, the DD III is drilling another relief well

Once one of the two relief wells intersects the damaged line, BP plans to pump heavy drilling mud in to stop the oil flow and plug the blown-out well with cement.

It's tricky and it's not guaranteed to work. A pair of relief wells took months to stop an undersea gusher in Mexico that started in the summer of 1979.

For more news & multimedia on the Gulf oil disaster, visit our Oil Spill section.