16 Nov 2012

Record fine for BP over Gulf disaster

8:05 pm on 16 November 2012

BP has been fined $US4 billion for criminal misconduct over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Eleven men died and 4.9 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf for 87 days after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on 20 April, 2010.

The BBC reports the Department of Justice has imposed a fine of $US4 billion, to be paid over five years.

The company will pay an additional $525 million to the Securities & Exchange Commission over a period of three years.

The settlement with the Department of Justice involves BP pleading guilty to 14 criminal charges.

As a result, the company said that it was setting aside an additional $US3.85 billion on top of the $US38.1 billion it has been raising to cover its liabilities from the incident.

The company has been selling assets to raise funds to settle all claims.

The BBC reports it is expected to make a final payment of $US860 million into the $US20 billion Gulf of Mexico compensation fund by the end of the year.

Other companies involved in the disaster included Transocean, the owner of the rig, and Halliburton, which provided cementing services.

BP is yet to reach a settlement with them. A civil trial that will determine negligence is due to begin in New Orleans in February 2013.