BP Trial Resumes This Week

30 Sep

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The second phase of the BP Deepwater Horizon trial begins today, with court watchers waiting to see how the 2010 oil spill damage will be calculated and what the resulting environmental penalties will be.

From the L.A. Times:

“It’s fascinating for reasons of its size and complexity, the accusations of destruction of documents and evidence, and for the legal precedents. It’s terrific stuff,” said John Levy, a maritime law litigator and partner at the firm Montgomery McCracken.” (more)

There are two key issues at stake: whether BP committed negligence or gross negligence, and exactly how much damage was caused by the massive oil spill. At the low end of that spectrum, fines could be less than $3 Billion, based on the Clean Water Act. The higher end could result in a record $18 Billion, which one analyst quoted by the New York Times said could be devastating.

“They would have to sell assets to keep the company afloat,” said Fadel Gheit, a senior oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Company. “It would wipe out all of their cash reserves.” (more)

BP pleaded guilty last year to 14 criminal charges. The massive spill occurred in 2010 when BP’s drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, killing 11 workers and creating the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

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