BP Trial for Worst US Offshore Oil Spill Opens

By Admin
The long awaited trial against BP over the 2010 Macondo well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico commenced Monday morning. "The primary fault for thi...

 

The long awaited trial against BP over the 2010 Macondo well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico commenced Monday morning.

"The primary fault for this disaster lies with BP," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Underhill said at the start of the trial, which is being overseen by Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans.

BP has already spent an upwards of $37 billion on cleanup, payouts, settlements and fines. The remaining liabilities could add tens of billions of dollars more to its tab should Barbier determine that BP was grossly negligent.

While no one at BP or the Justice Department has commented on an official settlement proposal, several lawyers have said that a $16 billion proposal had been made. The states of Alabama and Louisiana are also participating in the trial, although Florida, Mississippi and Texas were also affected. Louisiana, the hardest state hit from the disaster, is expected to see the largest payout of any state from a settlement in US history.

The New York Times writes, “the proposal signals the first agreement among states and the federal government on two other crucial issues: a rough plan for how the states would divide any settlement money, and how the settlement would balance fines and penalties against BP.”

The first phase of the trial is expected to last three months. Depending on Barbier's decision, the company may face non-tax-deductible fines as high as $17.6 billion under the Clean Water Act.

Eventually, BP will also face penalties for environmental damages and remediation costs, which could range from $5 billion to $20 billion.

Related story: Transocean's $1 Billion Civil Settlement OK'd

With so many claimants involved, with varying perspectives and interests from different locations, progress over the years has been slow. Last year, the company pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges, including manslaughter and agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and penalties. However, individuals, businesses and the Justice Department have also filed charges against BP.

The company has set aside a fund of $8.5 billion to settle those claims.

Read More in Energy Digital's February Issue

 

DOWNLOAD THE ENERGY DIGITAL IPAD APP

Share

Featured Articles

COP27 agrees to climate compensation fund

The deal is said to be a historic first in acknowledging the vast inequities of the climate crisis

North America's natural gas can help mitigate energy crisis

In the effort towards decarbonisation, North America could be a key player in providing affordable natural gas, addressing energy security issues

COP27: Egypt and Norway to build 100MW green hydrogen plant

Plant will be built in Egypt’s Ain Sokhna region, on the Red Sea coast, and will be implemented in cooperation with Scatec, the Norwegian energy giant

Renewable energy company Masdar opens office in Saudi Arabia

Renewable Energy

Ørsted closes US$140m transaction with ECP for US portfolio

Renewable Energy

ADNOC Drilling delivers world record well at Upper Zakum

Oil & Gas