BP could face penalty of $18bn in second phase of oil spill trial
In the latest trial, the US court will estimate the quantity of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.
The British oil and gas giant BP is expected to face a fine of up to $18bn over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster as part of the second phase of trial that will begin in New Orleans today.
The expected fine is five times the $3.5bn set aside by the company earlier for penalties.
In the second trial, the court will mostly look into the efforts made by BP in closing the well in the Gulf of Mexico that leaked oil for 87 days. In addition, the court will also estimate the quantity of oil leaked into the sea.
The trial is expected to run for 30 days.
BP will also look to reduce payouts to individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill as it has already exceeded the $7.8bn set aside for the uncapped settlement.
The first phase of the trail that closed in April focused on the share of damages caused by BP and its partners Transocean and Halliburton in the incident.
In the latest trial, the federal government will argue that BP underestimated the size of the oil spill and wasted time trying to plug the well with debris when the flow was too strong, reported the Guardian.
The government’s argument is anticipated to be vital to estimate the final penalty for BP.
As per the Clean Water Act, BP may be imposed a penalty of $1,100 for each barrel of oil that leaked into the sea. Furthermore, the fine may be increased to $4,300 per barrel if BP is found to be guilty of gross negligence by the US court.
The outcome of the first two phases of the trial is expected in early 2014. The third and final phase of the trial will begin next year to decide exact penalties for damages.
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil incident is the biggest offshore disaster in the US history that killed 11 workers and leaked huge quantity of oil into the sea.