BP rejected on appeal over Gulf oil spill claims

The 2010 oil rig explosion and spill has already cost BT at least $40bn

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BP suffered a further blow in its battle to curb losses from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill after the US Supreme Court rejected the company’s legal challenge to a multibillion-dollar settlement agreement.

The FTSE 100 company complained that under the agreement, some businesses would get payouts despite being unable to prove they lost money as a result of the disaster – potentially adding billions to BPs costs. As a result, while it had initially estimated that the settlement would cost it $7.8bn (£4.9bn), it says it can now no longer give a reliable estimate.

The court’s decision not to hear its appeal is the latest in a series of setbacks for BP, which is trying to limit payments from the 2010 oil rig explosion and spill, which has already cost it at least $40bn.

The current case relates to a multibillion-dollar settlement agreement which BP signed in 2012 to compensate businesses claiming financial losses due to the spill. But BP has since argued that the agreement has been interpreted incorrectly by the administrator, forcing it to pay businesses even when they could not show any damages.

On Sunday BP said it was accelerating job cuts in the face of falling oil prices.

In September, a US court ruled that BP was guilty of “gross negligence” over the disaster, which killed 11 people. That ruling could add as much as $15bn to its costs because the possible fine under the US Clean Water Act is much higher in cases of gross negligence. BP is appealing against this decision.