Tuesday, 1 October 2013

BP facing huge fines as oilspill trial resumes

Attorney: Oil Giant lied about Blowout

British petroleum giant, BP, is facing fines of up to $18bn when the trial over the 2010 DeepWater Horizon disaster resumes in New Orleans.

Plaintiffs' attorney Brian Barr told the court Monday that BP lied about 'how much oil was flowing from the well.' He added that the company was ill-prepared for the accident.

The Department of Justice claims that 4.2m barrels spilled from the
Water Horizon well
However, BP attorney Mike Brock told the court that the company made 'extraordinary' efforts to stop the oil spill and did not hide the flow rate in a way that delayed efforts to minimize the disaster's effects.

US district judge Carl Barbier is set to begin the second phase of the trial which will cover the magnitude of the oil spill and BP's efforts to mitigate its effects. This phase will last for 14 days.

According to UK newspaper, the Guardian, the US Department of Justice claims that 4.2m barrels spilled from the well while BP counters that only 2.4m barrels. The outflow resulted in a fiery explosion that led to 11 deaths.

Oil spills during the July 2010 disaster.
Judge Barbier is set to conclude whether BP's behavior resulted in gross negligence. If found guilty, BP and its partners will be liable to the tune of $ 1,100 per barrel. The figure could rise to $ 4,300 under the Clean Water Act which imposes the fine due to gross negligence or willful misconduct.
Meanwhile, some of BP's former partners such as Transocean and Halliburton are now demanding that the oil giant pay the larger share of the fines. The partners say that BP could have sealed the well on May 15 2010 but did not. They claim that their liability is limited to the outflow before that date.