BP will give evidence on the oil spill to U.S. congress today.

Obama is urging the company set aside $20billion (£13.5billion) in a special account to pay for damages and clean-up costs from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Huge amounts of money have been lost as the fishing industry in the Gulf brings in $660m every year.

Florida’s $65bn-a-year tourist industry has also been devastated.

Between 20,000 and 40,000 barrels of crude oil is still pumping into the ocean as BP introduces additional containment efforts, including a system that could start burning off vast quantities.

If oil continues to flow at this rate and the relief well is not completed until August as planned then this could add a further $14bn to BP’s bill.

Escalating demands for compensation mean the future of the oil giant looks uncertain.

However, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne hit back yesterday, emphasising that a string of U.S. firms were also heavily involved in the events leading up to the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig and said BP is “effectively an Anglo-American company.”

Today, BP boss Tony Hayward meets Obama for the first time.

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Tags: Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP oil spill, Florida, environmental impact, US oil spill, British Petroleum, oil leak, Obama, Tony Hayward