BP seeing fewer than expected applicants for oil spill money

GULF COAST — There have been far fewer applicants than expected for money from a $100-million fund BP PLC set up to help deepwater rig workers after a federal moratorium on drilling prompted by the massive oil spill.

With nine days left to apply, a spokesman for the charity running the program told The Associated Press yesterday that only 356 people have come forward. Up to 9,000 people had been expected to seek grants of $3,000 to $30,000.

The charity says it turns out that many rig workers are being kept on the job by their employers, despite the moratorium.

With so much money left over, the charity plans to offer a second round of grants — this time to workers who support deepwater rigs, such as people on supply boats.

A recent federal report claimed the moratorium has not increased unemployment in the region.

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