BP poised for court case after failing to reach civil settlement on oil spill disaster

 

New York

With less than a week to go until a New Orleans court begins hearings in a trial over hundreds of civil claims related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP has said it is ready to defend itself after failing to reach a settlement with US authorities and other claimants, arguing that their demands were "not based on reality."

In a statement ahead of a case which has the potential to saddle the oil giant with billions in damages, BP's general counsel, Rupert Bondy, said: "We have always been open to settlements on reasonable terms, failing which we have always been prepared to defend our case at trial. Faced with demands that are excessive and not based on reality or the merits of the case, we are going to trial."

The trial will determine the causes of the spill, and apportion responsibility to the parties involved, including BP, Transocean and Halliburton.

It brings together hundreds of civil claims against the companies, and will unfold in at least two phases. The first focuses on determining responsibility, while the second will determine how much oil leaked into the Gulf.

The judge will ultimately decide if BP or the other companies involved were grossly negligent – something which the oil giant said would be impossible to prove. "Gross negligence is a very high bar that BP believes cannot be met in this case," Mr Bondy said. "This was a tragic accident, resulting from multiple causes and involving multiple parties. We firmly believe we were not grossly negligent."

The civil case comes after BP settled criminal claims last year by paying $4.5bn (£2.9bn)in what was the biggest criminal penalty in US history.

The deal with the US government also saw it plead guilty to 14 counts of criminal misconduct to resolve all federal criminal charges and claims.

At the time, BP's chief executive, Bob Dudley, apologised for the company's role in disaster.

The key players: Who’s who

BP isn’t the only defendant in the civil trial that commences in New Orleans on Monday. Here are some of the other key players.

Halliburton

The international conglomerate was the contractor responsible for the cement used to seal the bottom of the well and contain the oil and gas.

Transocean

Company owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which burned and sank in 2010.

Cameron International

Cameron designed and manufactured the blowout preventer, a fail-safe device meant to stop the uncontrolled flow oil and gas, installed at the site.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • 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

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living