oil spill

BP has appealed to a US court on Monday to stop ‘fictitious’ compensation claims stemming from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, which killed 11 people and caused the worst environmental disaster in US history.

In 2012, the company reached a $7.8bn settlement with thousands of people and businesses which were affected by the disaster.

British BP has said this ammount will not be sufficient to pay all the claims if court-appointed attorney Patrick Juneau continues to award "excessive and unwarranted" compensation to claimants.

BP US Communications head, Geoff Morrell, said in a statement: "Not only is the claims administrator’s misinterpretation contrary to the plain language of the settlement agreement and the intent of the parties, but it has ignited a feeding frenzy among trial lawyers attempting to secure money for themselves and their clients that neither deserves."

"We are asking the Fifth Circuit to follow established legal principles of contract law and interpret the agreement as written and intended: paying only those claimants who suffered actual losses," Morrell added.

"BP said that more than two thirds of large claims were based on "fortuitously timed" accounting rather than definite lost profits."

In a brief filed to this effect, BP said that more than two thirds of large claims were based on "fortuitously timed" accounting rather than definite lost profits.

BP also said that a rice mill in Louisiana, which was awarded $21m, and a construction company in northern Alabama, which was awarded $9.7m, both did not even do business on the coast.

The company has already spent more than $14bn on the response and cleanup and has paid an additional $10bn to businesses, individuals and local governments that did not join the class action lawsuit.

In April 2013, BP lodged an appeal against a court ruling over a settlement for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that it anticipates will force the company to pay out billions of dollars more.

In May 2013, the BBC reported that BP is considering asking UK Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene over the spiralling cost of compensation that US companies are demanding in connection to the damages caused by the spill.

Image: Deepwater Horizon oil spill at Chandeleur Islands, Los Angeles, US; Photo: Courtesy of Jeffrey Warren, Grass Roots Mapping project.