Five years on from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and BP has been issued with the largest environmental fine in US history, to be added to the damages paid out already to affected businesses and individuals. Since the catastrophe struck, in which 11 workers were killed and millions of barrels spilled, the oil giant has been struck by a torrent of legal claims, though none so costly as the settlement reached with the US government and five states on July 2.
Already, the damages tied to the oil spill have cost BP $43.8bn
Already, the damages tied to the oil spill have cost BP $43.8bn, not including the recent settlement, which tacks another $18.7bn onto the total and, according to US Attorney General Loretta E Lynch, amounts to the largest settlement reached with a single company in US history. The agreement covers claims made by Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi, along with 400 local government entities and settles all federal and state claims tied to the event.
“This is a realistic outcome which provides clarity and certainty for all parties,” said the company’s chief executive Bob Dudley in a statement. “For BP, this agreement will resolve the largest liabilities remaining from the tragic accident and enable BP to focus on safely delivering the energy the world needs. For the United States and the Gulf in particular, this agreement will deliver a significant income stream over many years for further restoration of natural resources and for losses related to the spill.”
BP’s chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said also that the settlement makes good on the company’s commitment to restore the Gulf economy and environment, and resolves the largest remaining legal exposures on its books. “In deciding to follow this path, the Board has balanced the risks, timing and consequences associated with many years of litigation against its wish for the company to be able to set a clear course for the future.”