UpdateUS government fines BP $4.5bn over Deepwater Horizon disaster

15 November 2012 17:42  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds detail of the criminal fines imposed on BP)

BP spill siteLONDON (ICIS)--BP on Thursday agreed to pay $4.5bn (£2.8bn) to settle federal criminal charges and all claims by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against the UK-based oil giant in connection with the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

It is the biggest criminal penalty in US history.

The April 2010 Macondo oil well explosion and fire in the US Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and sunk the Deepwater Horizon rig, leading to a massive spill.

As part of its resolution of criminal claims with the US Department of Justice, BP will pay $4bn, which includes $1.26bn in criminal fines, in instalments over a five-year period. BP also agreed to take additional actions, enforceable by the court, to further enhance the safety of its drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition, in its resolution with the SEC, BP agreed to a civil penalty of $525m, payable in three instalments over a three-year period.

“Today’s resolution is expected to result in an increase of approximately $3.85bn to the $38.1bn charge taken against income as of the end of September,” the company said.

Bob Dudley, BP’s group chief executive, said: “From the outset, we stepped up by responding to the spill, paying legitimate claims and funding restoration efforts in the Gulf. We apologise for our role in the accident, and as today’s resolution with the US government further reflects, we have accepted responsibility for our actions.”

BP said it can now focus more fully on defending itself against all remaining civil claims.

Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP’s chairman, said: “It removes two significant legal risks and allows us to vigorously defend the company against the remaining civil claims.”

As part of the resolution, BP agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships officers relating to the loss of 11 lives; one misdemeanour count under the Clean Water Act; one misdemeanour count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and one felony count of obstruction of Congress.

The resolution is subject to US federal court approval.

($1 = $0.63)

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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