BP may have to pay $13.7 billion for its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, after a U.S. judge rejected the company’s attempt to reduce its fine. Hayley Platt reports.
It's a case of two steps forward, one step back for BP. The oil giant has made huge progress turning the company around since the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill which left it with billions of dollars in damage costs. But on Thursday a U.S. court rejected its bid to reduce the maximum $13.7 billion fine it faces under the Clean Water Act. BP sought to pay $3,000 a barrel, equal to a maximum fine of $9.57 billion. But the New Orleans judge, along with the federal government, says it should pay $4,300 per barrel spilled. Factors used to set the maximum civil fine include a ruling that BP had acted with gross negligence or wilful misconduct. But the company's extensive cleanup efforts have also been taken into account. The 2010 disaster killed 11 workers and caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Setting a fine is the last step in the civil trial to determine responsibility. District Judge Barbier, who has so far been overseeing the trial, hasn't decided how much BP should pay. And it's not clear when he will. He said accepting BP's position "would invalidate nearly every agency's attempt to inflate civil penalties that can be sought in federal court." BP disagrees with the decision and is considering its legal options. It has so far incurred more than $42 billion of costs for the spill, including the cleanup, fines and compensation to victims.