News / USA

Negotiators Trying to Settle BP Oil Spill Damages

This US Coast Guard image released on April 22, 2010 shows fire boat response crews as they battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, 21 April 2010.
This US Coast Guard image released on April 22, 2010 shows fire boat response crews as they battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, 21 April 2010.

Negotiators for the U.S. government and victims of the devastating 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are making a last-minute effort to resolve the massive damage case against the British oil giant.

A trial about who is responsible - and to what degree - for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history is scheduled to start Monday in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is near where a BP oil rig exploded nearly two years ago, killing 11 workers and spewing almost five million barrels of oil into the waters off the southern U.S. coast over an 87-day period.   

BP and several companies that worked with it or shared ownership of the drilling operation could be liable for billions of dollars in damages. Already, more than 72 million pages of evidence have been collected in 536 lawsuits stemming from the disaster. Federal judge Carl Barbier is set to hear the collected cases in a trial could last into 2013.

The negotiators, however, are seeking to reach an agreement on the damages and end the need for a trial. The main defendants are BP, which had a 65 percent stake in the well; the Swiss company Transocean, which owned the rig, and U.S.-based Halliburton, which provided cement services for the drilling operation. They have sued each other as well.

BP has accepted responsibility for the disaster, and says its legal and cleanup costs could total $43 billion. But the company is also looking to shift some of the blame to other companies and has already reached settlements with some of them that played lesser roles in the explosion.

However, an overall settlement of the damages has proved elusive, in part because of the complexity in calculating the vast damages and assigning the appropriate share of blame. The U.S. government is looking to collect massive damages for violation of the country's environmental laws.

Thousands of individuals who live along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline and businesses that operate there are also seeking payouts. They say the seafood and tourist industries were severely damaged as the seeping oil spread across the waters in the three months before the well was capped.

Former BP chief executive Tony Hayward apologized for the accident in 2010, but angered many residents near the oil rig when he seemed just as concerned about the amount of time he was spending two summers ago on the clean-up effort.

"We're sorry for the massive disruption it has caused to their lives," he said.  "There's no one who wants this thing more over than I do. You know, I'd like my life back. So, there is no one who wants this thing done more than I do and we are doing everything we can.''

Whether the case is settled this weekend, or goes to trial, the expected damages are all but guaranteed to make it the most expensive environmental disaster in U.S. history, far surpassing the $1 billion Exxon paid for its Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in 1989.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid