BP fined $3bn to $5bn

 
Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning The explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 people.

I have learned that BP is set to pay fines and penalties of between $3bn and $5bn to settle the criminal case against it brought by the US Department of Justice in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster of 2010.

The settlement will be announced this afternoon in Washington by the Department of Justice.

It will be the biggest criminal penalty in US history.

However BP is thought to be relieved that it has reached a settlement, because the potential liability was unlimited - although the settlement involves the humiliation for the leading oil company of pleading guilty to criminal charges.

It is thought there will also be arrests of up to four BP engineers and technical staff.

Eleven people died in the initial Deepwater Horizon explosion, which then caused the biggest ever offshore oil spill, in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP has already spent many billions of dollars cleaning up the pollution and compensating victims.

The settlement with the DoJ is only for the criminal charges. BP faces years of civil litigation from the Department of Justice and individual states, as they seek damages relating to the spill.

UPDATE 13:35 GMT

My understanding is that the fine will be around $4bn, and it will be paid in instalments over a period of years.

 
Robert Peston Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 112.

    The reason BP still exists is that the US government is forgoing full enforcement of the law as a favor to the UK, due to our alliance. BP has been found guilty of repeatedly negligently killing workers and for that their US oil leases should be forfeit. Just that, forfeit, with no compensation due. Full enforcement of the civil penalties for what they did would exceed $200 Billion.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 111.

    market price discovery, thats me pension sunk then

  • rate this
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    Comment number 110.

    Not good enough! There are families still ignored by these people, despite their pathetic PR. 87 days to cap BP's Macondo Well as it spewed 4.9M barrels of oil into Gulf of Mexico, blackening beaches! Holder put BP on notice: "Our criminal investigation remains ongoing." Justice Dept has failed to resolve civil case re amt BP should pay in environmental fines. Trial scheduled February, next year.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 109.

    In the meantime what's happened to the illustrious citizens of Zug? Transocean who appear, from all the evidence, to be just as complicit in this as BP seem to have disappeared off the radar.
    Funny that, they seemed to be essentially an American company although based in Switzerland. Or am I being cynical?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 108.

    Hopefully this will lead to a thaw in US / Russian relations as they both realise that they do in fact have some things in common.

 

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