In April 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded leading to the deaths of 11 workers, and spewed an estimated 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Federal prosecutors were able to secure an enormous settlement for the criminal and civil charges placed on BP, as a corporation, after this blowout. Despite the punishment against the corporation, 5 years have passed, and it is increasingly possible that not one person from BP will serve prison time.
On May 15, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an opinion regarding the validity of a settlement agreement between BP and a man who sustained injuries as a result of the blast that caused Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. BP had appealed the District Court's decision finding that the agreement was valid.
Monday, March 23, 2015 will mark 10 years since the horrific BP explosion in Texas City, which took the lives of 15 people and injured approximately 180 others. The BP explosion is to date one of the worst refinery explosions. The lives of those involved and their families may never be the same after this disaster.
Last Thursday, a federal judge in New Orleans denied BP's request to limit its environmental penalties for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Setting this fine is the final step in a civil case regarding the April 20, 2010 blowout of BP's Macondo subsea well, which caused the spill. Following the blowout, a sea-floor oil gusher flowed for eighty-seven days. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.
The Associated Press reported today that the Supreme Court of the United States is leaving in place BP's multibillion-dollar settlement with lawyers for businesses and residents over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico - dealing another blow to BP's efforts to derail the settlement BP originally signed off on. Consumer lawyers throughout the country hailed the Court's decision as a victory for those adversely affected by the gigantic oil spill.
On Thursday, a federal judge for the first time found that BP was indeed the primary culprit and that only it had acted with "conscious disregard of known risks." He added that BP's "conduct was reckless." By finding that BP was, in legal parlance, grossly negligent in the disaster, and not merely negligent, United States District Court Judge Carl J. Barbier opened the possibility of $18 billion in new civil penalties for BP, nearly quadruple the maximum Clean Water Act penalty for simple negligence and far more than the $3.5 billion the company has set aside.
According to Fuel Fix, BP said last Wednesday that it will take the courtroom fight over the settlement agreement it previously reached with plaintiffs to the United States Supreme Court. The company has argued that the settlement agreement reached with plaintiffs' attorneys in 2012 is being misinterpreted and BP is being forced to pay meritless claims. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday denied BP's request for a rehearing before the entire court. BP said Wednesday it will ask the appeals court to not issue a mandate on the matter until the Supreme Court reaches its own judgment. The move would keep billions in liabilities in limbo as it holds in place a court mandate to stay business economic-loss claims. The company said the appeals court's ruling would redefine the settlement's requirements for oil spill claimants and draw more companies to enter the class-action settlement or sue the company "in protracted litigation that would delay compensation for true victims." "No company would agree to pay for losses that it did not cause, and BP certainly did not when it entered into this settlement," the company said in a written statement. "BP will continue to fight to return the settlement to its original, explicit, and lawful purpose - the compensation of claimants who suffered actual losses due to the spill."
Last Tuesday, Anthony Badalamenti became the first person to enter a plea of guilty for crimes associated with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the most devastating offshore oil spill in petroleum history. Badalamenti, technology director for Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, was charged with destroying key evidence that shielded Badalamenti, his former employer, and other companies involved from potentially billions of dollars of blame. Despite damage estimates that currently exceed $40 billion and the substantial loss of life in this explosion, Badalamenti's guilty plea can only amount to a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
According to the Associated Press, a former Halliburton manager pleaded guilty to destroying evidence following the deadly Deep Water Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Anthony Badalamenti, 62, of Katy, Texas, faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine after his guilty plea in U.S. District Court. His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey is set for Jan. 21. Badalamenti was the cementing technology director for Halliburton. Prosecutors said he instructed two Halliburton employees to delete data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP's blown-out Macondo well.
According to the Associated Press, Halliburton, who was BP's cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 announced that it is trying to negotiate a settlement over its role in the disaster. Halliburton CFO Mark McCollum said during a conference call to discuss first-quarter earnings that talks were at an "advanced stage." The Houston-based company says it hopes court-facilitated negotiations will resolve a substantial portion of private claims it has faced since the Deepwater Horizon explosion. "We are working hard to come to a reasonable settlement that would be in the best interest of our shareholders," Halliburton president and CEO Dave Lesar said on the same call.