Shares in oil giant BP plunged further on Thursday, hitting their lowest level since 1997, even as the company said it saw no justification for such a move.
The shares opened trading in London 11 per cent lower before recovering to trade down 7.3 per cent at 363 pence, against a 2.3 per cent drop in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index.
The drop follows days of heavy losses and catches up with a drop of over 15 per cent in the price of BP’s US-traded American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) on Wednesday.
Much of the US fall came after the UK market had closed after US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said BP would be told to pay workers laid off due to a drilling moratorium announced in the wake of the oil spill.
The comment revealed a new liability, which could amount to millions of dollars, and signaled a ratcheting up of political pressure on BP, spooking investors.
However, BP said it had the resources to deal with its liabilities. “BP faces this situation as a strong company,” the company said in a statement.