Deepwater

Oil and gas major BP faced a new $34bn claim from local and southern state governments in the US, including Louisiana and Mississippi, for financial losses and property damage incurred as a result of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The states have been affected by the pollution that took place after the explosion on the BP-operated Macondo well in April 2010, which killed 11 people, reported The Guardian.

Commenting on the claims, the company said the method adopted to calculate the claims was "seriously flawed" and that it would not have to make additional financial provisions.

However, BP did admit to being hit by a $4.1bn "charge" in the last quarter of 2012, taking the total amount it has set aside to $42.2bn.

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently approved BP’s plea to resolve all federal criminal charges against the company, in relation to the Deepwater disaster.

"It is believed that BP would add an additional $20bn to its liabilities if it is found "grossly negligent" during the trial."

BP agreed to pay $4.5bn in a settlement with The Department of Justice (DOJ) on 15 November 2012 and pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges.

The company may have to shoulder further financial implications as it prepares for a final civil trial, scheduled to begin on 26 February, and is desperately trying to reach an out-of-court settlement to avoid a court trial.

It is believed that BP would add an additional $20bn to its liabilities if it is found "grossly negligent" during the trial in a worst case scenario.

While presenting the company’s financial data on Tuesday, BP chief executive Bob Dudley presented a positive estimation of what the company had achieved.

"We have moved past many milestones in 2012, repositioning BP through divestments and bringing on new projects," Dudley added.


Image: Deepwater Horizon drilling unit on fire. Photo courtesy of US Coast Guard – 100421-G-XXXXL – 003 – Deepwater Horizon fire.

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