April 16, 2015 / 2:03 AM / 3 years ago

Payout from BP oil spill settlement tops $5 billion

(Reuters) - The administrator overseeing a BP Plc fund to compensate people and businesses claiming they were harmed by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill said on Wednesday more than $5 billion has been paid out.

A sign is seen outside BP's North Sea Headquarters in Aberdeen, Scotland January 15, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

A total of $5.037 billion has been paid to 62,162 claimants, the administrator, Patrick Juneau, said in a statement on his website for spill claims.

The money is being paid under a 2012 settlement tied to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers and caused the largest U.S. offshore oil spill. The fifth anniversary of the disaster will be April 20.

BP originally said it expected to pay $7.8 billion to resolve claims under the settlement but by February of this year had boosted its estimate to $9.9 billion.

The London-based oil company had long complained that Juneau was paying out too much, including to claimants who suffered no harm.

But last month, BP ended a bid to oust Juneau, citing steps he had taken to reduce fraud.

According to Juneau, more than half of the payouts so far have compensated businesses that suffered economic losses, with a significant percentage also going to the seafood industry.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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