UPDATE 3-BP sends Mitsui $1.9 bln bill for oil spill cleanup

* Bill in August was $480 million

* Mitsui says withholding payment while examining issue

* Mitsui unit holds 10 pct stake in blown-out well
(Recasts with company announcement)

By Yuko Inoue

TOKYO, Nov 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co
(8031.T: ), which owns a stake in the Gulf of Mexico oil well that
caused the world’s worst offshore oil spill, said it has received
a $1.9 billion bill from BP (BP.L: ) towards the cleanup, four
times bigger than a bill sent three months ago.

Mitsui reiterated it would withhold payment while it
continues to examine the issue.

“We’ll withhold a decision until the cause of the spill and
how the cost is shared among stakeholders become clear,” Junichi
Matsumoto, executive vice president at Mitsui, told a news
conference.

“We asked BP for more details as it was unclear how they
calculated the bill, but there was no response as of the end of
October.”

Matsumoto said the Mitsui group is subject to 154 lawsuits in
the U.S.

News of the demand comes as Mitsui, Japan’s second-biggest
trading house, reported net profit for the April-September first
half of 183.23 billion yen ($2.28 billion), 2.5 times more than a
year earlier, on strong sales of iron ore and other commodities.

Matsumoto said the company had not booked any cleanup costs
in its earnings as of the end of September.

Millions of gallons of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico in
the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, which began in
April when a BP rig exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana.
The well was capped in July.

Mitsui’s unit, Mitsui Oil Exploration Co, holds a 10 percent
stake in the ruptured oil well. [ID:nSGE6710LO]

Several investigations into the cause of the spill are under
way, including those by the U.S. government and Mitsui. The first
result is expected as early as June next year, Matsumoto said.

BP has been selling assets to raise cash to pay for the
cleanup and compensate victims.

Shares of Mitsui ended 0.8 percent lower at 1,244 yen
compared with a flat broader market.
($1=80.53 Yen)
(Editing by Michael Watson)

UPDATE 3-BP sends Mitsui $1.9 bln bill for oil spill cleanup