Gulf spill paymaster Kenneth Feinberg today released a draft of his long-awaited methodology for deciding payments on final claims for damages from the BP oil spill – and has endorsed an optimistic prediction of how quickly the region’s economy will recover that is likely to spark controversy among claimants.

You can read Feinberg’s proposed methodology here, as well as a report estimating the recovery period for the Gulf of Mexico. Feinberg commissioned the report to help him figure out his compensation program.

As we’ve noted, Feinberg initially said he would release the methodology last December, and he explained the delays in its publication by emphasizing that “I’ve got to get this right.”

Feinberg’s plan assumes that with the exception of oyster harvesters, the Gulf of Mexico will experience a full recovery by the end of 2012. Based on these predictions, he will pay claimants twice their estimated losses from 2010 for final claims, deducting any claims payments they have already received. Oyster harvesters, who he projects will face a slower recovery, will receive four times their losses from 2010.

The documents released today are draft proposals and not final rules, and a two-week comment period begins today in which the public can weigh in on Feinberg’s plans.