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BP is entering the final chapter of the aftermath caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 as it prepares to go to trial against the federal government next week. The feds state that they will prove that (NYSE: BP) was grossly negligent in the lead up to, and during, the disaster. The outcome of the case will determine how many more billions BP must pay.
In the two and a half years since the Macondo Well incident BP’s new CEO, Bob Dudley, has slowly rebuilt the company and repaired as best he could its tattered reputation. He has sold $38 billion in assets as part of the ‘shrink to grow’ strategy, reorganised divisions, reemphasised safety, and moved the company forwards. With the start of this trial the feds will trawl through all of the grisly details regarding the worst parts of the spill, bringing the entire affair back into the public eye, and once again damning BP’s reputation.
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Rupert Bondy, BP’s General Counsel, said that they “have always been open to settlements on reasonable terms,” but “faced with demands that are excessive and not based on reality of the merits of the case, we are going to trial.”
“Gross negligence is a very high bar that BP believes cannot be met in this case. This was a tragic accident, resulting from multiple causes and involving multiple parties. We firmly believe we were not grossly negligent.”
The Department of Justice is pushing for the charges of gross negligence because they have nothing to lose. In fact it could be part of a political ploy; if Obama does approve the Keystone XL pipeline, then he could recover some favour from the environmentalists by reminding them that he had been tough on BP.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com