BP found 'grossly negligent' in 2010 Gulf oil spill

BP oil spill explosion The 2010 explosion and subsequent oil spill cost 11 workers their lives and was the worst in US history

Related Stories

A US judge has ruled BP was "grossly negligent" in the lead-up to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ruling could potentially cost BP billions more in compensation payments.

The New Orleans judge Carl Barbier also found BP subcontractors Transocean and Halliburton "negligent".

The 2010 oil spill was the worst in US history, and BP has set aside $43bn (£26bn) to cover fines, legal settlements, and clean-up costs.

BP said in a statement that it "strongly disagrees" with the ruling and that it would appeal to a higher court.

"The law is clear that proving gross negligence is a very high bar that was not met in this case," said the firm.

Shares in BP fell 6% after the ruling was announced.

Quadruple penalty

Judge Barbier said BP should shoulder 67% of the blame for the 2010 spill, with drilling rig owner Transocean responsible for 30% and cement firm Halliburton responsible for 3%.

He ruled that BP will be "subject to enhanced civil penalties" due to its "gross negligence" and "wilful misconduct".

The ruling could quadruple the civil penalties that BP must pay as a result of the spill to an estimated $18bn.

Beach picture In April, BP announced it had ended its 'active cleanup' on the Louisiana coast from the oil spill

Under the US Clean Water Act, a ruling of negligence would have meant BP was liable to pay $1,100 per barrel of oil spilled; gross negligence increases the penalty to $4,300 per barrel.

In its most recent annual report, BP said it had set aside $3.5bn for this case - an indication the firm had expected a more lenient ruling.

BP emphasised in its statement that it planned to argue during penalty proceedings for the lesser penalty.

Continued wrangling

In 2012, BP agreed to accept criminal responsibility for the disaster and agreed to pay $4.5bn to the US government, thus settling its criminal liability in the spill.

Now, legal efforts have focused on the amount of civil penalties the firm must pay, both to businesses and individuals affected by the spill and to cover environmental clean-up costs.

Also in 2012, BP reached a $9.2bn civil settlement and agreed to put $20bn into a trust to pay to businesses and individuals.

However, legal proceedings have continued after BP said it had been forced to pay compensation to some businesses and individuals who were not directly affected.

It is not clear what impact Judge Barbier's ruling will have on the legal wrangling over that settlement fund.

A date to determine the total number of barrels of oil that were spilled in 2010 as well as a final civil penalty has not yet been announced.

US government experts have estimated a total of 4.2 million barrels spilled into the Gulf; BP has said the figure is closer to 2.45 million.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    08:46: MARKET UPDATE

    Markets are down again today. The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.35%, the Dax in Frankfurt declined 0.31% and the French CAC dropped 0.11%.

    • ARM Holdings led the gainers up 2.5%
    • Reckitt Benckiser led the losers down 2.4%
    • Whitbread fell 2.2%
     
  2.  
    08:36: BAE BUYER

    BAE Systems continues its movement into cyber security, stumping up £144m for Perimeter Internetworking Corp, which trades as SilverSky, a cloud security firm. The purchase will add to earnings in three years, says the firm

     
  3.  
    08:24: TOTAL SHARES

    Shares in French oil firm Total are understandably lower this morning following the death overnight of the company's widely respected chief executive Christophe de Margerie in a plane crash in Moscow. Total has opened down nearly 3% to €42.94.

     
  4.  
    08:12: WHITBREAD
    General view of cup from a Costa Coffee shop,

    Revenue for the owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn was up 13% to £1.29bn for the six months ended 28 August. Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison said: "The trading momentum of our strong first half performance has continued into the first few weeks of the second half and positions Whitbread well to deliver full year results in line with expectations."

     
  5.  
    08:00: GKN RESULTS

    GKN, which makes parts of planes and cars, said sales fell of the third quarter - that's July to September - but profit rose. A stronger pound than last year caused much of the lost revenue. For the rest of the year, the motor and aerospace market will grow, while agriculture "looks set to continue its recent decline," it says.

     
  6.  
    07:50: ARM CHIPS BBC Radio 4

    Simon Segars the boss of chipmaker ARM is on the Today programme. He says lots of companies license his firm's tech so he's not worried about competition from the likes of Intel, which is now targeting ARM's market. "Competition is a good thing," he says. He adds: "History has shown the technology solution that we produce is the one that goes into most devices. Virtually every smartphone in the world uses an ARM processor". So, safe to say he's not worried in the slightest then.

     
  7.  
    07:35: ASOS PROFITS DOWN
    ASOS webpage screengrab

    Online retailer ASOS has reported as 14% slump in profits to £46.9m. Last year ASOS reported profits of £54.7m. There are no surprises here, though. The firm has previously warned "disruption" from investment in warehousing and the launch of its new business in China would hurt profits and that remains the case. Boss Nick Robertson says the firm is "in a period of major investment that comes at a short term cost, but the medium-term benefits will be significant."

     
  8.  
    07:20: ARM CHIPS
    chip

    ARM, which could well make the chips in your mobile phone, says it made $320m (£195.5m) of sales in the third quarter, up 12% compared with last year. It will probably sell $350m in the final three months of the year, it said.

     
  9.  
    07:10: RECKITT RESULTS
    Reckitt Benckiser products

    Reckitt Benckiser says it now expects full year revenue growth at the lower end of its total revenue growth target of 4-5%. The firm "delivered a robust performance in tougher markets in the third quarter" it said.

     
  10.  
    07:00: CHINA GROWTH BBC Radio 4

    China's economy grew by 7.3% in the three months to September, compared with expectations of 7.2%. But it's still the lowest growth in six years. The BBC's Chief Business Correspondent Linda Yueh tells the Today programme Chinese monetary policymakers want to slow the Chinese economic growth gradually and allow the rest of the world to get used to it. China is becoming a "middle income economy" she says and will revert to a normal path for a developed economy over time of around 3% to 4%.

     
  11.  
    Via Twitter Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent

    tweets: My interview with CEO of Oscar de la Renta fashion house, Alex Bolen, from Talking Business

     
  12.  
    06:41: ENGINEERING SKILLS Radio 5 live

    We don't have enough engineers in the UK or scientists for that matter argues Ann Watson of Semta, an engineering skills charity, on 5 live. She says: "We need a million scientists, engineers and technicians by 2020, We are starting to see a shortage in education; people training those recruits." The perception of engineering as a "dirty, oily industry" doesn't help, she says.

     
  13.  
    06:30: STOCK MARKET Radio 5 live

    Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank is on 5 live talking about the falling stock market. "If we see stocks fall more we may see companies bargain hunting," she says. So more firms may start purchasing each other.

     
  14.  
    06:21: HEATHROW TRAVEL Radio 5 live
    heathrow

    Travel writer Simon Calder is on 5 live talking about the weather. He says he sees about 50 weather-related cancellations at Heathrow, so perhaps about 5% of flights so far. Flights to Frankfurt look hard to come by, he says.

     
  15.  
    06:12: FLIGHTS CANCELLED

    Heathrow airport has said this morning that around 10% of flights will be cancelled today as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo hit the UK. Flights with the 20 biggest carriers would be affected, it says. British Airways has already cancelled some ahead of the expected severe weather. The remains of the hurricane are predicted to bring heavy rain and gusts of up to 75mph in some areas, causing disruption to rush-hour travel. If you're travelling today it's worth checking before you arrive at the airport.

     
  16.  
    06:02: TOTAL CEO DEATH Radio 5 live

    Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of French oil company Total, has died in an air crash in Moscow. Sarah Rainsford, the BBC's correspondent in Moscow says poor weather with low visibility is a possible cause of the crash. His plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine killing him and three crew, she tells 5 live.

     
  17.  
    06:01: Howard Mustoe Business reporter

    Good morning! Get in touch via email bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on twitter @BBCBusiness.

     
  18.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business reporter

    Morning folks, we have the latest public borrowing figures out at 9:30 today. But before that we have full year results from online retailer ASOS, and interim figures from Whitbread, plus the weather is promising to play havoc with the transport network today with 10% of flights out of Heathrow already cancelled this morning. We'll bring you everything as it happens.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.