BP agrees £4.9bn Gulf of Mexico spill payout

 

BP has reached a £4.9bn deal with thousands of people hit by the oil giant's Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The company said it expected the money - $7.8bn - to come from the $20bn (£12.6bn) compensation fund that it set up following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010, the worst spill in US history.

BP stressed today the proposed settlement was "not an admission of liability".

Bob Dudley, BP Group's chief executive, said: "From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region and we've worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years.

"The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast."

BP still has to resolve claims by the US government, Gulf states and its partners in the doomed Deepwater Horizon project, in which pressure from a well a mile below the ocean's surface blew up a massive drilling rig, killing 11 men and spewing oil into the sea for nearly three months.

The settlement will have no cap to compensate the complaints, who include thousands of fishermen who lost work, but BP's £4.9bn estimate makes it one of the largest class-action settlements.

After the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989, the company ultimately settled with the US government for $1bn, which would be about $1.8bn (£1.1bn) today.

The 2010 spill exposed oil industry failings and forced BP chief executive Tony Hayward to step down.

The Gulf of Mexico spill soiled sensitive tidal estuaries and beaches, killing wildlife and shutting vast areas to commercial fishing.

After several attempts to cap the well failed, engineers were finally successful on July 15, halting the flow of oil into the Gulf after more than 85 days.

Following the disaster, the main targets of legal action were BP, Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron International, maker of the well's failed blow-out preventer.

BP, the majority owner of the well that blew out, was leasing the rig from Transocean.

The US government sued some of the companies involved in the drilling project and opened a separate criminal investigation, but that probe has not resulted in any charges.

The companies also sued each other, but some of those cases were settled last year. In one pending lawsuit, BP has sued Transocean for at least $40bn (£25.3bn) in damages.

A trial in the case, due to begin on Monday, has now been postponed for a second time, with no new date immediately set.

BP was due to be in the dock in New Orleans next week alongside contractors Halliburton and Transocean as a single judge decided who was to blame for what happened when the rig exploded.

The company was to face the wrath of the US government, several states, local authorities and hundreds of independent plaintiffs in a hearing before federal judge Carl Barbier.

Judge Barber said the settlement would "likely result in a realignment of the parties".

He said the trial was being adjourned "in order to allow the parties to reassess their respective positions".

BP has so far paid out $7.5bn (£4.7bn) in clean-up costs and compensation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Stockbroker

£Basic (OTE) + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Stockbroker (qualified / p...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Application Support Analyst / 1st Line Support

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence