Judge Rules BP Showed Gross Negligence!!
All the billions in their coffers could not protect BP from this wonderful ruling. I’ve written a lot about this event. BP may end up paying up to $18 billion more than the $31 billion they have already paid. I’m happy to say these type of numbers impact BP’s stock price, which fell 6% on the news. Under the Clean Water Act, a corporation that fouls up gulf can be forced to pay a maximum of $1,000 in civil fines per barrel of spilled oil, or up to $4,300 per barrel if the company is found grossly negligent. The judge’s ruling means BP will be facing the higher penalties.
The next phase of the case, to begin in January 2015, the judge will decide just how much BP will be paying.
The judge allocated percentages of blame between the major players in the Horizon fiasco also known as the Macondo oil spill. BP bears 67 percent of the responsibility, Swiss-based drilling rig owner Transocean Ltd. 30 percent, and Houston-based cement contractor Halliburton Energy Services 3 percent.
Let’s not feel sorry for BP, which made $24 billion just last year in profits. The major oil companies make obscene profits these days. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said the London-based oil giant showed a conscious disregard of known risks during the drilling operation and bears most of the responsibility for the blowout that killed 11 rig workers and poured millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 3 months.
The Government estimated 4.2 million barrels or 176 million gallons, spilled into the Gulf. BP told the judge that their estimate of 2.45 million barrels, or 103 million gallons, in calculating any Clean Water Act penalties. Barbier hasn’t ruled on this issue yet.
BP made profit driven decisions during the drilling that led to the 2010 blowout, the judge concluded at the end of his 153 page ruling. These instances of of negligence, taken together, evince an extreme deviation from the standard of care and a conscious disregard of known risks, he wrote.
This is pretty damning stuff. I personally agree with the ruling completely. BP is nowhere near done with paying very hefty fines. They face another set of penalties under the federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990. BP may lose another $10 billion here, though experts feel these claims may be very hard to resolve due to differing estimates of how much damage the environment suffered. I’m confident the judge will be able to navigate these possible problems.