US Court Says BP 'Grossly Negligent' In 2010 Spill, Billions In Fines Loom

Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill


HOUSTON, Sept 4 (Reuters) - BP Plc was "grossly negligent" for its role in the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a U.S. district judge said on Thursday in a ruling that could add billions of dollars in fines to the more than $42 billion in charges taken so far for the worst offshore disaster in U.S. history.

Shares of BP traded in the United States fell 5 percent, or $2.40, to $45.31, eroding about $8.8 billion of its market value.

"The Court concludes that the discharge of oil 'was the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct' by BP, said the ruling from U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans.

BP said it would appeal the ruling.

The company was already forced to shrink by selling assets to pay for the cleanup of the disaster aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers and spewed millions of barrels of oil for 87 days after the blast.

"Obviously the market's not taken it well and it was a little bit unexpected but you would expect BP to appeal the level of the fines, the decision made," said TJM Partners head of trading Manoj Ladwa said in London. "It is a short-term concern; longer term BP are cash generative and I'm sure they'll have the funds to pay for this."

Barbier has yet to assign damages from the spill under the federal Clean Water Act. Previous calculations by Reuters have shown fines could run to $17.6 billion in the costliest scenario.

A gross negligence verdict carries a potential fine of $4,300 per barrel fine, with BP having said some 3.26 million barrels leaked from the well and the U.S government having said 4.9 million barrels spilled.

Barbier apportioned 67 percent of the fault to BP, 30 percent to Transocean Ltd, which owned the drillship, and 3 percent to Halliburton, which did cement work on the Macondo well that blew out. Both of those companies have sought to limit their liability from the spill.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Karolin Schaps; Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Grant McCool)

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


Click on the button below to add a comment.
Post a Comment
Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

Related Companies

Our Privacy Pledge

Deepwater Horizon Images
Macondo Oil Slick (May 4) Deepwater Horizon Sinking (Apr 22) Cutting Macondo Riser Oil Spill Response Operation
Booms to Protect Breton NWR Shoreline Discoverer Enterprise Oil Spill Aerial View Workers at A Decontamination Site
71 more images view image library

From the Career Center
Jobs that may interest you
Remote Paramedic w/ Clerking Experience
Expertise: Paramedic / Nurse|Rig File Clerk|Safety Officer
Location: GOM, TX
Quality & Health, Safety, Security & Environmental (HSSE) Clerk
Expertise: Environmental, Safety & Training|HSE Auditing
Location: Rosemount, MN
Survey Project Manager
Expertise: Landman|Project Management|Surveying
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
search for more jobs

Brent Crude Oil : $50.2/BBL 3.29%
Light Crude Oil : $47.89/BBL 3.34%
Natural Gas : $2.94/MMBtu 1.37%
Updated in last 24 hours