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

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More