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Oil spill claims payments hit $256m, says BP

Company to start paying out compensation at the end of this week.

BP has paid $256m to date to claimants across the Gulf Coast who have lost income or net profit due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The company paid $30m over the past week and will pay at least another $60m in advance money in August. BP said it will start making the advance payments by the end of this week.

Darryl Willis, head of BP's claims team, said: "Our focus has been and remains on getting money into the hands of people who need it to pay their living expenses. This advance payment program recognises the importance of replacing income that has been lost."

BP has paid more than $237m to individuals and businesses since May. More than $117m has gone to individuals and businesses in a variety of occupations including those who work as deck hands and in seafood processing. The company began issuing interim advance payments in May.