BP reaches $7.8bn deal over Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Pelican affected by oil in Loiusiana, June 2010 This was the "the worst environmental disaster" the US had ever seen, the president said

BP says it has reached a $7.8bn (£4.9bn) deal with the largest group of plaintiffs suing the company over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill.

It will benefit some 100,000 fishermen, local residents and clean-up workers whose livelihoods or health suffered.

The company has not admitted liability and still faces claims from the US and state governments, and drilling firms.

The rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, killing 11 workers and leaking four million barrels of oil.

BP says it expects the money to come from a $20bn (£12.6bn) compensation fund it had previously set aside.

"From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region, and we've worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years," BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said.

"The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast."

Lawyers for the plaintiffs' group, the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, said the settlement "does the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people".

Trial adjourned

A trial in the case, due to begin on Monday, will now be delayed - for a second time - as a result of the deal, Judge Carl Barbier said.

The settlement will "likely result in a realignment of the parties," he said.

The trial is now being adjourned "in order to allow the parties to reassess their respective positions," Judge Barbier said.

The trial was due to resolve claims for damages and civil penalties arising from the spill.

Judge Barbier is an expert in maritime law and has consolidated hundreds of spill-related lawsuits into a single case.

The trial will probably still go ahead in order to apportion blame for the spill among BP and its fellow defendants.

Other companies involved include Transocean, who owned the rig, and Halliburton. All the companies are in dispute with each other over their liability to each other.

BP has so far paid out $7.5bn in clean-up costs and compensation.

US President Barack Obama called the spill "the worst environmental disaster the nation has ever faced".

It took 85 days to permanently stop the release of crude oil.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    I find it inconceivable that BP are soley responsible for this. What about the rig operators and Haliburton? The US seems to be turning a blind eye to their own operators involvement in this mess. The hearings held at the time were more like lynchings of old. An utter disgrace in a modern democracy. I hope that in the end BP get a fair hearing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    This is good news for BP, which needs to settle all outstanding claims as soon as possible. Once its liability is quantified, it can move forward and start paying dividends to all those pension funds that depend on it.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    This was always going to be the outcome, i was actually expecting all of the set aside funds to be used.

    Oil is more important than people,BP were allowed to restart drilling in the gulf some months ago that was the green light for claims to be wound up.

    Move along nothing to see.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    @15. Indeed Chernobyl and Fukushima have left vast areas uninhabitable. How many oil spills have left vast volumes of water poisoned with Crude oil - quite a bit more I suspect. Not to mention 7+ Bn humans making use of it and the damage that does to the Planet. Statistically speaking, Oil spills & use of fossil fuels do far more damage. There is my perspective.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Cheap at the price ! Why should they stump up anyway, the folk they're paying off are the ones who wanted the oil in the first place, so they should take the rough with the smooth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    BP shares are 40% owned by North American investors. It will damage pension funds on both sides of the Atlantic.

    The two other companies responsible for the offending drill head and cementing of the cap on the ocean floor are AMERICAN and have thus far refused to admit joint responsibility. Ex Vice President Cheney has business links to Haliburton.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Just to compare...

    Union Carbide paid $480 million compensation for the Bopal disaster that cost 25,000 lives in India. Perhaps they value Indian live a lot less than their own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Deep Water Horizon will be viewed in retrospect compensation free for all that hi-lighted the high risk of doing business in the US.

    The long term loser will be the US economy.

    Multinational firms will avoid investing in the US or will factor in higher costs to allow for its litigious nature.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Ha! BP doesn't pay it - we do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    US President Barack Obama called the spill "the worst environmental disaster the nation has ever faced".

    Isn't their (USA) contribruting pollution of our planet, the worst potential diaster the world has ever faced yet.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    BP is paying up because it knows it is vulnerable, even though their role was more akin to that of a passenger. The driver and the taxi - both US, one will run and hide behind it's main customer, the US government, the other, while it is a US company, is actually now Swiss based.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    "We're not admitting liability but we'll pay you 5 billion dollars". Do me a favour mate, who are you kidding!

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    $7.8m is a pittance to bp!

    They make that in proffits in just three months

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Our avaricious American cousins have once again demonstrated their capacity to extort another £4.9 bn (they've already extracted £4.7bn) from BP. These sums have NOTHING to do with actual collateral damage to fishing/ tourism/ environment in the Gulf area affected, and everything to do with the pernicious climate of "something for nothing", litigiousness which pervades the US.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    So will our American cousins use BP as an example and pay up to the fishermen in Nigeria for the current spill (5 weeks now) by a US company or will it be there just Africans.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Oil is a completely natural formation comprised of the long dead bodies of pre-historic life.
    The vast majority of oil ever formed has already leaked harmlessly back into the environment that it came from which is one of the reasons why oil wells are so rare.

    So much for environmental disaster hype - it's all about the money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Remember though some of those fishermen will never be able to work again. Nor will their sons or grandsons.

    That will be worth at least $2m per family.

    Then there will be the guy next door who was just about embark on a career as a fisherman, $1m, and then there was his neighbour.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.


    You don't get it, do you? One rule for the rich and powerful; another for the common man.

    Try putting some used engine oil into your wheelie-bin and see what happens.

    Though by your comments I guess you'd have a man do that for you...


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