US Supreme Court rejects BP payout appeal

Deepwater Horizon disaster
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster

A challenge by BP over a settlement agreement following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been rejected by the US Supreme Court.

The oil major had claimed the deal allowed certain businesses to get payouts, despite being unable to trace their losses to the disaster.

The court’s refusal to hear the appeal by BP means that it will have to continue making payments as it deals with the aftermath of the explosion four years ago.

Following the judgement,spokesman Geoff Morrell, said: “We nevertheless remain concerned that the programme has made awards to claimants that suffered no injury from the spill – and that the lawyers for these claimants have unjustly profited as a result.

“On behalf of all our stakeholders, we will therefore continue to advocate for the investigation of suspicious or implausible claims and to fight fraud where it is uncovered.

“In doing so, we hope to prevent further exploitation of our commitment to compensating all those legitimately harmed by the spill.”

Chief executive Bob Dudley last year vowed to dig in for a long-haul legal battle over “absurd” claims, saying: “No company would agree to a settlement that pays businesses that suffered no losses.”

In 2012 BP signed a settlement agreement to compensate spill claimants.

However since then the company has claimed the agreement has been interpreted improperly.

The April 2010 blowout of BP’s deep-water Macondo well off the coast of Louisiana killed 11 people and sent millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

BP has so far paid $2.3billion in business economic loss claims out of $4.25billion in total compensation to individuals and businesses.

The settlement process is separate from other court proceedings relating to the spill, including environmental and criminal penalties.

The company has put aside $43 billion to resolve all claims.

In September, a judge in a separate case ruled that the oil giant was “grossly negligent” in the run-up to the incident, paving the way for billions of civil penalties under the Clean Water Act. BP said it would appeal against that decision.