Over the last day or so it has been widely rumored that British Petroleum has reached a settlement on criminal charges for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Disaster in which at least 11 people lost their lives on the rig alone and spilled over 4.5 Million Barrels of Oil and uncounted amounts of toxic chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico.
BP to Admit Crimes and Pay $4.5 Billion in Gulf Settlement
By JULIA WERDIGIER, The New York Times
Published: November 15, 2012
Even with a settlement on the criminal claims, BP would still be subject to other claims, including federal civil claims and claims for damages to natural resources.
In particular, this settlement 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.
Sources say at least 2 employees will be charged with manslaughter.
BP settlement not the final word in spill story
By Steve Hargreaves @CNNMoney
November 15, 2012: 12:56 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — BP announced Thursday it settled criminal charges with the U.S. government over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill for $4.5 billion. But that won’t resolve some of the biggest liabilities still facing the company.
Chief among them is the penalty that could come out of the Clean Water Act — a potential civil fine for spilling the oil itself.
If things go the company’s way, that fine could be somewhere between $3.5 billion and $5 billion, said Jason Gammel, an analyst at Maquarie Securities Group in London.
But if BP is found guilty of gross negligence in the spill, the penalty could more than quadruple to roughly $20 billion — dwarfing today’s settlement.
The government has accused BP of gross negligence in the spill. A civil trial is set for February, and could drag on for years.
BP’s $7.8 Billion settlement with victims in the uncapped class action has yet to be approved by courts.