BP said to be mulling dividend cut

LONDON (CNNMoney.com) -- BP is considering suspending or cutting its second-quarter dividend amid U.S. political pressure, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

BP (BP) CEO Tony Hayward told the Journal that the company is "considering all options on the dividend."

The oil giant is due to announce its dividend on July 27.

The options being mulled include lowering or deferring the second-quarter dividend, the report said.

It also said BP's board of directors could issue a sort of I.O.U. to shareholders for all or a portion of the dividend.

Shares of BP have been on a roller coaster ride amid concerns about its ability to weather the Gulf oil spill.

The stock plunged 16% in In U.S. trading Wednesday before bouncing back on Thursday.

Criticism of BP has been growing as oil continues to gush into the Gulf Coast.

The head of the U.S. Geological Survey on Thursday esimated that oil was leaking at a rate of between 20,000 and 40,000 barrels a day before a containment cap was placed on the spewing well last week.

That was about twice the previous estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day.

BP executives have been asked to meet with senior administration officials, including President Obama.

U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the retired Coast Guard commandant overseeing the response to BP's oil spill, sent a letter to BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg on Thursday, requesting that he "and any appropriate officials from BP," meet June 16.

Hayward is also due to testify about the spill before Congress on June 17. He is due to appear before the Energy and Commerce Committee. To top of page

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