news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | September 5, 2014 | 3.55 pm IST

An American judge has ruled that BP’s “profit-driven decisions” caused the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the penalties for which can be billions of dollars, Huffington Post reported.

Associated Press reported that the judge divided the blame for the oil spill from the Macondo offshore rig between three companies: London-based BP bears 67 percent of responsibility, Swiss-based Transocean Limited 30 percent and Houston-based Halliburton Energy Service has three percent of the blame.

These companies were involved in different capacities in the extraction of oil from the oil well. US District judge Carl Barbeir said that BP’s “profit-driven deicisions” which “evince an extreme deviation from the standard of care and conscious disregard for known risks”. 

Barbier will now have to decide how to penalise the company. Under the Clean Water Act, penalties would have been calculated at the rate of $1,100 for each barrel spilled if the case did not involve gross negligence or wilful misconduct.

But in the instant case, since the judge ruled that the company had been negligent, the penalties could be quadrupled. According to government estimates, 4.9 million barrels of oil were discharged into the sea during the oil spill but BP said the total figure was around3.7 million barrels. The oil spill lasted 87 days after an explosion triggered the spill, and killed 11 men.  BP said in an email response to Huffington Post, that it would appeal the ruling as it was not supported by the evidence at the trial.

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