US judge rules collected oil not considered in fines against BP

20 February 2013 18:08  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A US judge late on Tuesday ruled that court will reduce the oil spill figure used in assessing fines against UK energy giant BP in the federal civil trial related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

“For the purpose of this civil action, the United States and BP agree that the 810,000 bbl of collected oil are not to be used in calculating the statutory maximum penalty…” said the order signed by Judge Carl Barbier.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday declined to comment on the ruling. A BP spokesman said the company will not issue a statement regarding the issue.

The judge’s order did not address BP’s assertion that the government’s public estimate of 4.9m bbl of oil released from the Macondo well in April 2010 was at least 20% overstated.

BP said it believes 3.1m bbl is the uppermost limit that should be used in calculating the per-barrel penalty, adding that the courts historically have awarded only a fraction of the statutory maximum penalty.

BP is scheduled to appear in court on Monday for the first phase of the federal civil trial, which will focus on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon incident, as well as who should be held responsible.

The second phase will begin in September and will determine oil flow rate and quantification of oil spilled, which will be used to assess the penalty.

By: Tracy Dang
+1 713 525 2653

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