On Thursday a federal judge determined that BP underestimated the amount of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico following a rig explosion in 2010, a decision that could potentially cost the London-based oil giant more than $13 billion in one of America’s worst environmental disasters.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled that 3.19 million barrels were discharged into the Gulf after a rig explosion at BP’s Macondo well. That means BP could face $18 billion in maximum penalties under the Clean Water Act.
A trial set to open on Tuesday will determine the penalties, but during the pre-trial briefs the government argued that the oil giant should pay as much as $4,300 per barrel spilled.
The discharge figure Barbier settled on Thursday means maximum penalties could reach about $13.7 billion — but he has not yet decided how much per barrel BP must pay. BP argued that the penalties should be lower than what the government is asking for, but has not stated a specific figure.
Report complied with information from The Associated Press