BP may face $18b fines for 2010 oil spill

Updated: 2014-09-05 10:30


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HOUSTON - A federal judge announced in the US city of New Orleans Thursday that oil giant BP, which had been found guilty of having committed a gross negligence in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, should bear the majority of responsibility among the companies involved in the nation's worst offshore oil spill that killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil into the ocean.

In his 152-page ruling, US District Judge Carl Barbier accused the British oil company of making "profit-driven decisions " during the drilling of the well, saying that "these instances of negligence, taken together, evince an extreme deviation from the standard of care and a conscious disregard of known risks," said the Times-Picayune, a local newspaper, in an online report.

In the ruling, Barbier said BP bears 67 percent of the responsibility for the oil spill, Swiss-based owner of the drilling rig Transocean takes 30 percent and Houston-based cement contractor Halliburton shoulders the remaining 3 percent.

It is believed that in accordance with Clean Water Act, the ruling about the division of responsibility for gross negligence involved could lead to the maximum penalty of $18 billion fines for the part of the British oil giant.

The ruling triggered strong opposition from BP, which said Thursday that it would appeal the ruling as the company believes that an impartial view of the record does not support the erroneous conclusion reached by the District Court in New Orleans.

On April 20, 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon drill platform caught fire and exploded, killing 11 workers and triggering one of the worst environmental disasters in US history.

BP said it had so far paid more than $26 billion in cleanup costs and damage claims to individuals, businesses and governments.