BP's US civil trial begins for Deepwater Horizon disaster

25 February 2013 16:19  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--BP’s federal civil trial began on Monday to determine if the UK energy giant was “grossly negligent” in the events leading up to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

The proceeding is the first of at least two phases for the trial and will focus on the cause of the Deepwater Horizon accident, who should be held responsible and to what degree, BP said.

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

Last week, BP claimed that 3.1m bbl is the uppermost limit that should be used in calculating the per-barrel penalty.

The company said the government’s public estimate of 4.9m bbl of oil released was at least 20% overstated.

In addition, BP said the figure should not include the 810,000 bbl of oil that the company prevented from entering the Gulf of Mexico – a motion that was granted by the judge.

Previously, BP had agreed to a $4bn (€3bn) criminal settlement, as well as a $525m civil settlement for claims made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Separately, BP reached an economic- and property-damage settlement with several people and businesses who sued the company following the spill.

In addition, three of BP’s managers and a former engineer also face criminal charges.

Also related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, offshore drilling company Transocean has agreed to a $1bn civil settlement and $400m criminal settlement for violation of the Clean Water Act.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Tracy Dang
+1 713 525 2653

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