The Associated Press September 30, 2010, 11:53AM ET

BP's Dudley expects to pay dividends in early 2011

Incoming BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley says the oil company is likely to restart dividend payments in the first quarter of next year.

Dudley -- who will replace gaffe-prone Tony Hayward at midnight Thursday -- says the board will talk before the end of this year about restoring the payment to investors.

Dudley says he thinks "we will get there," although he added in a BBC interview that he's not sure of the level yet.

BP suspended dividend payments in June under political and public pressure as the costs mounted for the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Dudley earlier this week announced the creation of a new risk and safety division as part of BP's attempts to rebuild shattered confidence in the company.

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