News ID: 109652
Published: 0103 GMT January 18, 2015

US federal judge reduces BP oil spill fine by billions

US federal judge reduces BP oil spill fine by billions

A United States federal judge has ruled that a fine imposed on the oil giant British Petroleum (BP) for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill be reduced by billions.

Judge Carl Barbier ruled on Thursday that the size of the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in 2010 was smaller than the government had claimed, Press TV said.

The judge said that 3.17 million barrels of oil were released during the incident which is far lower than 4.19 million barrels estimated by Justice Department prosecutors.

The maximum fine therefore would be 13.7 billion dollars. It is significantly lower than the 18 billion dollars fine called for by prosecutors.

“Today’s ruling is a major victory for BP and reduces by billions their potential liability,” said law professor David Uhlman.

“A fine in excess of $10 billion remains possible but is now less likely,” Uhlman added.

As a result of the announcement, BP’s stock rose 6 percent Friday on the New York Stock exchange in the first day of trading.

The oil spill which was the worst environmental disaster in US history began with an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling oil rig in April 2010.

Eleven workers were killed and hundreds of millions of gallons of oil spilled out of a burst underwater pipe into the Gulf of Mexico for almost the entire summer.

The spill resulted in an enormous oil slick, visible from space and affecting wildlife in an area of 68,000 square miles (180,000 km2).

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