BP Reported Close to Settlement With U.S. Over Gulf Spill

New York Times, By Julia Werdigier, November 15

London — BP, the British oil company, is expected to agree to criminal liability on Thursday in the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago and agree to a large fine, according to people close to the situation.

The company itself said it was in advanced talks with the United States about settling all criminal claims stemming from the spill.

BP said that discussions were ongoing and no final agreement had yet been reached. There was also no guarantee a resolution would be achieved and any agreement would have to be approved by the federal court in the United States, the company said.

“BP confirms that it is in advanced discussions with the United States Department of Justice and the Securities & Exchange Commission regarding proposed resolutions of all US federal government criminal and SEC claims against BP in connection with the Deepwater Horizon incident,” BP said in a statement.


In particular, this settlement, if it is reached, does not include what is potentially the largest penalty: fines under the Clean Water Act. The potential fine for the spill under the Clean Water Act is $1,100 to $4,300 per barrel spilled. That means the fine could be as much as $21 billion, according to Peter Hutton of RBC Capital Markets in London.

Also, Reuters: BP to pay record fine for 2010 spill: sources

The discussion do not cover federal civil claims, both BP and the sources said.


The sources did not disclose the amount of BP’s payment, but one said it would be the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history. That record is now held by Pfizer Inc, which paid a $1.3 billion fine in 2009 for marketing fraud related to its Bextra pain medicine.

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  • BP guilty of criminal misconduct, negligence in gulf oil spill

    Oil company BP has agreed to plead guilty to misconduct and negligence charges and pay a record $4.5-billion fine in connection with the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, one of the nation’s worst environmental disasters.

    In an announcement Thursday morning from its London headquarters, BP confirmed that it had reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve all federal criminal charges and all claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission against the company stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, the subsequent oil spill and the response.

    As part of the agreement, BP said it has agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect in connection with the 11 people who died in the explosion. In all, the company agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges including one count of obstruction of Congress.

    The agreement is subject to U.S. federal court approval. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder will hold a news conference in New Orleans on Thursday afternoon to announce matters concerning “a major environmental case,” according to the DOJ announcement.

  • Transocean To Pay $1.4 Billion In Civil & Criminal Penalties For Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    Climate Progress, By Jeff Spross, January 4

    In November of last year, British oil giant BP agreed to a historic $4.5 billion criminal fine in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 workers and blew 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

    While BP owned the Macondo well and was in charge of onsite operations, it leased the Deepwater Horizon rig and its crew from Transocean Ltd., one of the world’s largest offshore drilling contractors. And yesterday, the Justice Department announced that Transocean agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle the investigation of its involvement in the oil spill.

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