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BP returns to US courts over Deepwater Horizon spill

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Oil giant BP is back in court over the 2010 oil spill, which saw 20m gallons (5m barrels) escape into the Gulf of Mexico. Officials have warned it could end up with an $18 billion (£11m) fine.

Its court appearance relates to its Deepwater Horizon oil platform, which exploded in the Gulf in 2010, claiming the lives of 11 workers and leading to oil gushing from the well into the sea.

The company has been in court on numerous occasions relating to the incident, and has been ordered to pay compensation to hundreds of businesses and individuals devastated by the disaster.

BP has been heavily criticised by local residents, who claim that it has done everything within its power to avoid paying up. Back in August, a hotline for people to report fraudulent claims to the company was branded the “snitch line” and residents hijacked it, accusing BP of fraud instead.

The new trial, which is expected to last around a month, will attempt to establish whether BP did everything it could to block the well. The company is facing fines of $1,100 per barrel, or even $4,300 per barrel if it is found guilty of gross negligence.

BP has previously claimed that the incident was not purely its fault, and called upon British prime minister David Cameron to enter discussions with US officials at the G8 summit back in May.

It also planned legal action against what it called inappropriate and unjustified” bans on US federal contracts.

If fined the maximum amount, the total cost of the spill to BP would be in excess of $60 billion.

Further reading:

BP plans legal action over ‘inappropriate and unjustified’ US contracts ban

BP Gulf compensation fraud hotline hijacked to accuse oil giant of misbehaviour

BP contests Deepwater Horizon payback scheme amid fears it could run out of money

BP calls on prime minister for help on spiralling Deepwater Horizon fees

On this day in 2010: BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill

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