February 24, 2015 – BP Plc on last night appealed a federal judge’s finding of the size of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which leaves the company potentially liable to pay US$13.7 billion in fines.
In January, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans ruled that 3.19 million barrels of oil had spilled into the Gulf as a result of the disaster. A determination that less oil was spilled would likely translate into a lower fine for the company.
The appeal comes days after Barbier rejected the company’s attempt to reduce the maximum civil fine it could face for its role in the disaster. That decision could result in a US$13.7 billion fine for the company under the federal Clean Water Act.
BP had argued for a maximum fine of US$3,000 per barrel, while Barbier agreed with the federal government in setting the figure at US$4,300 per barrel.
Barbier has not decided how much BP should pay, and it is unclear when he will.
BP has incurred more than US$42 billion of costs for the spill, including for cleanup, fines and compensation for victims. About 810,000 barrels were collected during cleanup.
BP has rejected Barbier’s finding from the first phase of the trial that it was “grossly negligent” for the blown out Macondo well.
A BP spokeswoman said the company had no comment on its appeal.