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US judge approves BP class action settlement

British oil company must pay $7.8bn for economic losses and property damage linked to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2012 02:50
The Deepwater Horizon oil well released nearly five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico [EPA]

A US federal judge has given final approval to BP's settlement with businesses and individuals who lost money because of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP Plc estimates it will pay $7.8bn to cover economic and medical claims from more than 100,000 businesses and individuals. US District Judge Carl Barbier approved the settlement in a 125-page ruling on Friday.

He wrote that the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate - and no objection has proved otherwise.

Barbier has not ruled on the medical settlement for cleanup workers and others who say exposure to oil or dispersants made them sick - just on economic and property damage settlements.

The settlement covers people and businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and some coastal counties in eastern Texas and western Florida.

In November, BP pleaded guilty to criminal charges relating to the oil spill and agreed to pay an extra $4.5bn on top of the tens of billions it is already paying out.

The British oil company plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect relating to the death of 11 workers, one misdemeanour count under the Clean Water Act, one misdemeanour count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and one felony count of obstruction of congress.

BP also agreed to pay $525m to settle securities claims with US regulators. In aggregate BP said it would pay the
$4.5bn over six years for the various resolutions.

Over the past two years, BP has so far sold non-core assets totalling more than $35bn to help fund massive compensation costs arising from the tragedy. The figure is set to reach $38bn by late 2013.

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana in April 2010, killing 11 and spewing more than 200 million gallons of oil from an undersea well owned by BP.

The rig, owned by Transocean Ltd, sank two days later.

The spill soiled sensitive tidal estuaries and beaches, killing wildlife and shutting vast areas of the Gulf to commercial fishing. It took 87 days for the well to be capped 1,500m below the surface.

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Source:
Agencies
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