BP will be spared potentially billions of dollars - after a U.S. appeals court agreed that payments to oil spill claims have been too generous.

The oil giant had complained that compensation was being paid to claimants for fictitious or non-existent losses.

The court agreed - it's ruled that only people and businesses with "actual injury" should be compensated.

But that doesn't mean fallout from the Gulf of Mexico spill is over, says IG's Alastair McCaig.


"This is a maybe a half a step in the right direction further down the road to them finally getting this liability off their back but ultimately there are still quite a few hurdles left for the oil company to clear before it can start really to look completely to the future."

BP has already paid out around $3.7 billion dollars in settlement claims and fears the final figure could reach 10 billion.

That's on top of $42 billion already spent on the clean-up and various fines.

BP shares have fallen more than 30 per cent since the Macondo well blowout in April 2010.

But on Thursday shares were among the Footsie's top gainers, rising 1 per cent on the court's ruling.