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BP Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in 2010 Spill

January 30, 2013 by · Comments Off on BP Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in 2010 Spill 

Now that a $4 billion plea deal has resolved BP’s criminal liability for the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill nearly three years ago, the company will turn its focus to a trial that could potentially cost it billions of dollars more in civil penalties, The Associated Press reported.

At the conclusion of a hearing Tuesday (Jan. 29) that included emotional testimony and a BP executive’s apology, a federal judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the April 2010 deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig and pay the record amount of criminal penalties.

What the plea deal approved by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance doesn’t resolve, though, is the federal government’s civil claims against BP.

A trial scheduled to start Feb. 25 is designed to identify the causes of BP’s well blowout, which triggered the deadly rig explosion and massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. The first phase of the trial also is designed to assign percentages of blame to BP and its partners in the ill-fated drilling project.

BP and the Justice Department have engaged in settlement talks that could resolve the civil claims against BP by the federal government and Gulf states before trial.

 

BP Settles 2010 Gulf Oil Spill for $4.5 Billion

November 15, 2012 by · Comments Off on BP Settles 2010 Gulf Oil Spill for $4.5 Billion 

BP said Thursday that it will pay $4.5 billion in a settlement with the U.S. government over the massive 2010 oil spill and will plead guilty to felony counts related to the deaths of 11 workers and lying to Congress, The Associated Press reported.

The figure includes nearly $1.3 billion in criminal fines — the largest such penalty ever — along with payments to several government entities.

A person familiar with the settlement said two BP employees will also face manslaughter charges over the deaths of 11 people in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that triggered the massive spill. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We believe this resolution is in the best interest of BP and its shareholders,” said Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP’s Chairman. “It removes two significant legal risks and allows us to vigorously defend the company against the remaining civil claims.”

The settlement includes payments of nearly $2.4 billion to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, $350 million to the National Academy of Sciences and about $500 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

London-based BP PLC said in a statement that the settlement would not include civil claims under the Clean Water Act and other legislation, pending private civil claims and state claims for economic loss.

BP Oil Spill Trial Scheduled to Begin Feb. 25

October 26, 2012 by · Comments Off on BP Oil Spill Trial Scheduled to Begin Feb. 25 

A federal judge today (Oct. 26) delayed until February 2013 the start of a massive trial to determine liability from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, citing tourist events that will keep New Orleans’ hotels booked, Thomson Reuters reported.

Campgrounds along the Gulf coast suffered business setbacks due to the oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, who is presiding over a massive three-part hearing to decide liability for BP Plc.’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill, said the trial will begin on Feb. 25, 2013. That trial, which had been delayed by nearly a year already due to a pending $7.8 billion settlement with private plaintiffs, had been set to get underway on Jan. 14.

At today’s hearing, Barbier cited lodging difficulties arising from two huge events to be hosted in New Orleans in early 2013 — the NFL’s Super Bowl on Feb. 3, and the Mardi Gras festival set for Feb. 12.

Barbier declined to delay a hearing set for Nov. 8 on a settlement BP reached with private plaintiffs in March for about $7.8 billion.

The April 20, 2010, explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 rig workers and unleashed a torrent of oil from the Macondo well. About 4.9 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 straight days.

That oil fouled the shorelines of four Gulf Coast states and eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in severity.

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