BP's $4 Billion Settlement Accepted by Judge
It's official: a $4 billion criminal settlement from BP has finally been approved three years following its oil well blowout and spill in the Gulf of Mexico that left 11 dead—the worst environmental disaster in US history.
The federal judge in New Orleans who made the decision, Sarah S. Vance, had heard dozens of emotional testimonies of victims demanding both financial retribution as well as stronger legal punishment leading up to the agreement.
At the hearing on Tuesday, Luke Keller, a vice president of BP America, said “BP understands and acknowledges its role in that tragedy, and we apologize — BP apologizes — to all those injured and especially to the families of the lost loved ones. BP is also sorry for the harm to the environment that resulted from the spill, and we apologize to the individuals and communities who were injured.”
Related story: Mysterious Sheen Near BP's Macando Well in Gulf
Since the incident, BP has paid over $24 billion on various settlements and cleanup efforts. Although its stock fell drastically after the accident, it has recovered by more than 40 percent since.
It's not over yet. Although criminal charges have been resolved, BP still faces significant pollution fines (up to $21 billion), while a trial to resolve the remaining civil litigation is scheduled for the end of February.
The company continues to contend that the spill was in part the fault of its two contractors: Transocean and Halliburton. Transocean has paid $1.4 billion in penalties to settle civil and criminal claims, but Halliburton has yet to reach any settlements related to the accident.
Although today's settlement marks the history books as the largest ever criminal resolution in US, the judge's move to OK the plea deal will save the company from a longer, more expensive trial.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.