- BP had agreed to plead guilty to charges involving deaths of 11 workers
- Fined for its role in Gulf of Mexico oil disaster after April 2010 explosion
- Government probes blamed blow-out on cost-cutting decisions by BP
04:23, 31 January 2013
04:23, 31 January 2013
A U.S. judge yesterday fined BP a record £2.5billion for its role in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
The company agreed in November to plead guilty to charges involving the deaths of 11 workers in the April 2010 drilling rig explosion that started the spill.
More than 200million gallons of oil spewed in the three months before BP’s blown-out Macondo well could be capped. It was one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
Up in flames: In this April 2010 photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning
A series of government investigations have blamed the blow-out on cost-cutting decisions by BP and its partners on the drilling project.
BP separately agreed to a settlement with lawyers for Gulf Coast residents and businesses who claim the spill cost them money. BP estimates the deal will cost the company roughly £5billion.
Lawyers for BP and the U.S. Justice Department said the plea agreement imposes ‘severe corporate punishment’ and will deter deep-water drilling companies from allowing another disaster to occur.
U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance said the plea deal was ‘just punishment’ considering the risks of litigation for BP and the alternatives to the settlement.
Remembrance: In this photo from April 2011, people gather near 11 crosses for the workers who died in the oil rig explosion and one for the Gulf of Mexico during a vigil to mark the first anniversary of the spill
She told victims’ relatives who were in court that she read their ‘truly gut-wrenching’ written statements and factored their words into her decision.
‘I’ve heard and I truly understand your feelings and the losses you suffered’
U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance, speaking to victims’ relatives
‘I’ve heard and I truly understand your feelings and the losses you suffered,’ she said, adding that she also believes BP executives should have personally apologised to family members.
‘I think BP should have done that out of basic humanity,’ Judge Vance said.
The deal does not resolve the federal government’s civil claims against BP. The company could pay billions more in penalties for environmental damage.