Shareholders, including a number of London councils, are suing BP in Texas over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, after a US court ruled they are allowed to claim compensation payments.
The lawsuit, launched by New York-based Pomerantz Law, has received the backing of Kensington and Chelsea council, the City of Westminster council, Cumbria county council and the Shell Pension Trust.
The law firm had already lodged fraud and negligence claims on behalf of three American pension funds against BP, in order to allow them to recover losses associated with their investments in the oil giant. The US court has however ruled that such claims are opened also to those owning shares outside the US.
Jennifer Patiti, one of the firm’s lawyers, told the Evening Standard, “The fact that UK pension funds who bought stock on the London Stock Exchange can now participate in bringing claims in the US raises the prospect of recoveries where significant losses have been incurred.”
A BP spokesman in London said, “All of the plaintiffs’ securities claims relating to the Deepwater Horizon accident are meritless and we will continue to vigorously dispute them.”
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico was told to be the worst environmental disaster in the US history. The effects of the five million barrels of oil into the Gulf are still evident, with many species and coastal communities affected.
BP contested the compensation claim system, arguing that many claimants had not been impacted by the spill, but a ruling by the US Supreme court in June said the company must keep paying for the damage it caused.
Photo: kris krüg via flickr