BP fined $3bn to $5bn

Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning The explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 people.

I have learned that BP is set to pay fines and penalties of between $3bn and $5bn to settle the criminal case against it brought by the US Department of Justice in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster of 2010.

The settlement will be announced this afternoon in Washington by the Department of Justice.

It will be the biggest criminal penalty in US history.

However BP is thought to be relieved that it has reached a settlement, because the potential liability was unlimited - although the settlement involves the humiliation for the leading oil company of pleading guilty to criminal charges.

It is thought there will also be arrests of up to four BP engineers and technical staff.

Eleven people died in the initial Deepwater Horizon explosion, which then caused the biggest ever offshore oil spill, in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP has already spent many billions of dollars cleaning up the pollution and compensating victims.

The settlement with the DoJ is only for the criminal charges. BP faces years of civil litigation from the Department of Justice and individual states, as they seek damages relating to the spill.


My understanding is that the fine will be around $4bn, and it will be paid in instalments over a period of years.

Robert Peston Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    The reason BP still exists is that the US government is forgoing full enforcement of the law as a favor to the UK, due to our alliance. BP has been found guilty of repeatedly negligently killing workers and for that their US oil leases should be forfeit. Just that, forfeit, with no compensation due. Full enforcement of the civil penalties for what they did would exceed $200 Billion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    market price discovery, thats me pension sunk then

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    Not good enough! There are families still ignored by these people, despite their pathetic PR. 87 days to cap BP's Macondo Well as it spewed 4.9M barrels of oil into Gulf of Mexico, blackening beaches! Holder put BP on notice: "Our criminal investigation remains ongoing." Justice Dept has failed to resolve civil case re amt BP should pay in environmental fines. Trial scheduled February, next year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    In the meantime what's happened to the illustrious citizens of Zug? Transocean who appear, from all the evidence, to be just as complicit in this as BP seem to have disappeared off the radar.
    Funny that, they seemed to be essentially an American company although based in Switzerland. Or am I being cynical?

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    Hopefully this will lead to a thaw in US / Russian relations as they both realise that they do in fact have some things in common.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    and still no-one is jumping up and down about XtractMore and a company that will not only know how much is coming out of the ground but will be able to speculate on it... the biggest conflict of interest in corporate history and respective govts (mainly the Swiss) wave it through and let the market decide...

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    BP is effectively just the tenant in these oil fields. And who owns and is responsible for these fields, and should therefore be ultimately responsible for paying the fine?

    ...Er, the US govt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    95. fco1922
    For many years the 'special relationship' can easily be likened to a certain unpleasant passtime with no lubricant.
    The Americans hate the British, always have. Look at the way they fleeced us during ww2, took all the glory for doing nothing, stabbed Russia as well. No taxation without representation - just try working on a visa and get a taste of what they didn't want

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Beep beep, Baku will next year decide how much gas it sets aside for its new EU-bound pipeline, which is to run through Turkey to either Austria or Italy. It might sell 50bn bcm of gas a year to the EU but wants more than just money in return. http://euobserver.com/foreign/118199

    Socar's property in Brussels at Rondpoint Schuman in the heart of the EU quarter, employs three and is hiring.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    If I were a business contemplating setting anything up with the US I would now think twice. If I was the UK government wondering whether to buy upteen hundred American planes, loads of American missiles, American computers and American software I would look to replacing ALL of those purchases with UK made goods - even if I had to create the factories to make them first!

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    The Commies won in the end:

    PS, US depiction of commies is disgraceful in the same way China and Russia's eleite have embrace "Capitalism" to the detriment of the ordinary folk.

    Seems to me both ideologies are just excuses for mankinds lust for power and money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Perhaps we could educate our youthful citizens in school:

    1) Banks are meant to be like oil, a lubricant to industry and wider society, as opposed to parasites

    2) Banks are meant to be self sustaining, tax payers don't foot the bill

    3) FIAT currency, it's good but abused, discuss

    4) House prices are double what they should be, see 5

    5) BBC and BoE perpetuate house price growth, wrong

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Perhaps "no backbone" should be replaced by "no comprehension".

    How many UK citizens understand that banks can create money out of thin air, a magic gift granted by the government?

    How many get that pension fund managers approve salaries of their bosses, who in turn approve pension fund managers wages.

    How many know that their wages are a direct link to the fraud that is the City of London?

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.


    This comment puzzles me.

    The UK has no backbone tho.

    Happy to be placated by over inflated asset prices (houses) instead of taking the financial medicine and halving them.

    As long as the BoE keeps the masses just above serfdom they'll put up with it, even if it's costing them, their kids and grandchildren 800bn + 375bnQE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    It never ceases to amaze me why people in second world countries (that’s you UK) ponder over what they can’t change, made by the most powerful, even when it’s blatantly wrong... whilst suckering up to them in every other respect.

    UK = no backbone

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    BP or it's contractors failed in a very dangerous exploratory environment.

    The banking industry (hedgers, commodities traders etc, not bank tellers) have wreaked untold havoc on the lives of millions of people through greed.

    In the UK all fines go to the FSA, who are paid for by banks.

    Where are the criminal proceedings? Who's gone to jail? Where is the actual reform?

    That's the real point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Read the Tissard Mission Mr Auden Grey
    and get your facts right America stands on the shoulders of the British!

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Once again, the US has shown Britain who is boss. This is almost embarrassing given the way British politicians talk of their "special relationship" with the US. Definitely not a symmetrical relationship!

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    I suppose its cheaper than going to prison. Anyway the customers will pay for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.


    For sure, I'm not about to defend the indefensible ie. pillaging every nation the UK ruling classes could get their hands on.

    1776 the US got independence. How come it took another 100+ years to make slavery illegal? 1865 13th Amendment.

    Making it illegal didn't exactly work, see Louisiana 10yrs after Katrina.

    I'm saying Capitalism isn't working despite the whose been naughtier than who


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