BP says it should be exempt from fines over collected oil spill

The US Department of Justice has backed BP's claim that it should be exempt from penalties regarding the oil it recovered from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, the company said Tuesday in a statement ahead of its trial.

The US Department of Justice has backed BP's claim that it should be exempt from penalties regarding the oil it recovered from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, the company said Tuesday in a statement ahead of its trial.

The oil giant faces court next Monday for its role in the explosion of its Gulf of Mexico well which killed 11 men.

Advertisement - Article continues below

BP will defend itself against charges of gross negligence at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

"This was a tragic accident, resulting from multiple causes and involving multiple parties. We firmly believe we were not grossly negligent," Rupert Bondy, Group General Counsel of BP, said.

The first phase of the trial will focus on the causes of the accident, who should be held responsible, and to what degree. The second will deal with penalties in relation to the amount of oil spilled.

Bondy said the government's public estimate of 4.9m barrels of oil released was at least 20% overstated.

The company believes it should be excluded from 810,000 barrels of oil that was captured from the Macondo reservoir, which could potentially reduce its final fine by as much as $3.5bn.

"Under the Clean Water Act, civil penalties are assessed only on oil that has actually entered the environment and potentially caused harm," the group said.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"The US Department of Justice has indicated that it agrees with BP's position on this issue.

"BP believes that a figure of 3.1 million barrels should be the uppermost limit of the number of barrels spilled that should be used in calculating a Clean Water Act penalty."

While BP said it was willing to take responsibility for its part in the accident, it will defend itself against certain claims.

Bondy highlighted the group's efforts in paying settlements to partners, contractors, the Public Service Commission and the US federal government.

Just last month BP agreed to pay $4.0bn over a period over five years during which time it will serve probation, the Louisiana court heard.

"Our actions show that we have been willing to settle," he said, adding that "there are remaining claims which we have been unable to settle on reasonable terms. Consequently, we are prepared to go to trial and present our case to Judge Barbier".




Investment strategy

Broker safety – your questions answered

Cris Sholto Heaton answers more of your questions about the safety of stockbroker accounts
25 Mar 2020
Investment strategy

How demographics affects stock valuations

New research suggests that stock and bond valuations are driven by the age of the population – at least in the US.
24 Feb 2020
Stocks and shares

Do you own shares in Sirius Minerals? Here’s what you need to do now

Mining giant Anglo American has proposed a cash takeover of Yorkshire-based minnow Sirius Minerals. Unhappy shareholders must decide whether to accept…
20 Feb 2020

Why investors should be “cautiously bullish” for 2020

Analysts have been out in force making rosy predictions for stockmarkets in 2020, but while there is certainly a case for optimism, investors should r…
17 Jan 2020

Most Popular


House price crash: UK property prices are falling – so where next?

With UK property prices falling for the first time in eight years, are we about to see a house price crash? John Stepek looks at what’s behind the sli…
2 Jul 2020

The end of the bond bull market and the return of inflation

Central bank stimulus, surging post-lockdown demand and the end of the 40-year bond bull market. It all points to inflation, says John Stepek. Here’s …
30 Jun 2020

How can markets hit new record highs when the economy is in such a mess?

Despite the world being in the midst of a global pandemic, America's Nasdaq stock index just hit an all-time high. And it's not the only index on a bu…
3 Jul 2020