US Appeals Court, Says BP Bound by Gulf Spill Accord

MarineLink.com
Tuesday, March 04, 2014

By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

A divided U.S. appeals court has rejected BP Plc's bid to block businesses from recovering money over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, even if they could not trace their economic losses to the disaster.

By a 2-1 vote, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans late Monday upheld a Dec. 24 ruling by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, authorizing the payments on so-called business economic loss claims. It also said an injunction preventing payments should be lifted.

The decision is a setback for BP's effort to limit payments under a multi-billion dollar settlement over the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and rupture of BP's Macondo oil well.

That disaster killed 11 people and triggered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill.

Geoff Morrell, a BP spokesman, said the company may appeal. BP had previously asked the full 5th Circuit to review a Jan. 10 decision by another three-judge panel that upheld the settlement itself.

BP previously settled U.S. criminal proceedings over the spill, and has completed two phases of a three-part civil trial before Barbier, where it could face more than $17 billion of penalties.

The company has set aside $42.7 billion for cleanup, compensation, legal and other costs related to the spill, . It has estimated that business economic loss claims in the latest appeal totaled about $1 billion.

"Each $1 billion extra on claims equates to just 2 pence per share for BP," Investec analysts said in a note.

BP shares traded down 0.3 percent at 491.6 pence in late afternoon trading in London.

Resumption of Payment Expected
Barbier ruled that BP would have to live with its earlier interpretation of a Dec. 2012 settlement with businesses and individuals harmed by the spill, in which certain businesses claiming losses were presumed to have suffered harm.

BP argued that this would allow businesses to recover for fictitious losses, but the 5th Circuit rejected its appeal.

"The settlement agreement does not require a claimant to submit evidence that the claim arose as a result of the oil spill," Circuit Judge Leslie Southwick wrote for the majority.

Terms of the settlement "are not as protective of BP's present concerns as might have been achievable, but they are the protections that were accepted by the parties and approved by the district court," the judge added.

The 5th Circuit also said claims administrator Patrick Juneau retained the authority to root out bogus claims, without having to perform the "gatekeeping" function that BP sought.

Circuit Judge Edith Brown Clement dissented, saying the decision wrongly helps claimants whose losses had "absolutely nothing to do with Deepwater Horizon or BP's conduct."

Steve Herman and Jim Roy, who represent the business claimants, said in a joint statement: "Today's ruling makes clear that BP can't rewrite the deal it agreed to."

Juneau, in a statement, said the decision "appears to clear the way" for the resumption of payments on business economic loss claims, and that he will resume making such payments upon a formal direction from the district court.

BP originally projected that the settlement would cost $7.8 billion. As of Feb. 4, it had boosted this estimate to $9.2 billion, and said this sum could grow "significantly higher."

As of Monday, about $3.84 billion had been paid out to 42,272 claimants, according to Juneau's website.

The case is In re: Deepwater Horizon, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 13-30315 and 13-30329.

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

BIMCO Welcomes EU Decision on Migrants

BIMCO has stated today that it appreciates the new efforts by EU leaders to reduce increasing reliance on merchant shipping to rescue the growing numbers of

Long Beach, Los Angeles ports host forum to gather input

More than 100 cargo owners, trucking firm leaders, longshore labor, marine terminals and other goods movement industry representatives turned out Wednesday for

Arctic Nations to Fight Climate Change Despite Russia Tensions

The eight Arctic Council nations pledged on Friday to do more to combat climate change that is shrinking the vast frigid region, with countries trying to put

Finance

Norwegian Car Carriers to Buy Two from Hyundai Samho

Oslo-listed Norwegian Car Carriers (NOCC) has signed a contract with Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries for the construction of two 6500 ceu Pure Car Truck Carrier (OCTCs).

Long Beach, Los Angeles ports host forum to gather input

More than 100 cargo owners, trucking firm leaders, longshore labor, marine terminals and other goods movement industry representatives turned out Wednesday for

Venezuela Probes ex-minister accused of corruption in Ferry Deals

A former minister in President Nicolas Maduro's government denied in an interview published on Friday accusations of corruption during the purchase of three

Environmental

IMO Calls for Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh

The  International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh are jointly implementing a project entitled “Safe and

BIMCO Welcomes EU Decision on Migrants

BIMCO has stated today that it appreciates the new efforts by EU leaders to reduce increasing reliance on merchant shipping to rescue the growing numbers of

Long Beach, Los Angeles ports host forum to gather input

More than 100 cargo owners, trucking firm leaders, longshore labor, marine terminals and other goods movement industry representatives turned out Wednesday for

Energy

Goliat FPSO in Norway

The Goliat FPSO was successfully floated off the heavy-lift vessel, Dockwise Vanguard, in the fjord outside Hammerfest, says Eni Norge    The Goliat platform has arrived in Hammerfest,

Skangass Celebrates Topping Up

Nordic liquefied natural gas operator Skangass  has celebrated a topping out ceremony at its Pori LNG terminal. The company said it was making progress in the

Falklands' Oil Drilling at Isobel Deep Suspended

Oil explorers drilling in the waters north of the Falkland Islands have suspended work on the second well of their 2015 current six-well drilling campaign after a technical problem.

News

Goliat FPSO in Norway

The Goliat FPSO was successfully floated off the heavy-lift vessel, Dockwise Vanguard, in the fjord outside Hammerfest, says Eni Norge    The Goliat platform has arrived in Hammerfest,

BIMCO Welcomes EU Decision on Migrants

BIMCO has stated today that it appreciates the new efforts by EU leaders to reduce increasing reliance on merchant shipping to rescue the growing numbers of

Long Beach, Los Angeles ports host forum to gather input

More than 100 cargo owners, trucking firm leaders, longshore labor, marine terminals and other goods movement industry representatives turned out Wednesday for

Government Update

Judge Orders Migrant Boat to Remain in Custody

An Italian judge on Friday ordered that the presumed captain of a migrant boat that sank with the loss of more than 700 lives should remain in custody after prosecutors

Iran Moves Ships, Reducing Tensions Near Yemen

A flotilla of nine Iranian military and cargo ships that U.S. officials feared was carrying arms to strife-torn Yemen sailed northeast in the direction of Iran on Friday,

Rescue Ships Head for Libya, as Migrants Die Also in Balkans

British and German warships made ready to sail for waters off Libya as Europe ramped up rescue operations in the Mediterranean after up to 900 desperate migrants

Offshore Energy

Falklands' Oil Drilling at Isobel Deep Suspended

Oil explorers drilling in the waters north of the Falkland Islands have suspended work on the second well of their 2015 current six-well drilling campaign after a technical problem.

Four Petrobras Platforms Halt Output Due to Oil Leak

Four Petrobras oil platforms off the northeast coast of Brazil have halted production after a leak of about 7,000 liters of oil was detected coming from a pipeline linking them,

Huat Retires as Non-Ex Dir. of ST Engineering

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) today announced the retirement of Mr Quek Poh Huat as non-executive Director of the Company at its Annual General Meeting on 23 April 2015.

 
 
Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3510 sec (3 req/sec)