Home / National News / Judge Sets Maximum Penalty in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill


(NEW ORLEANS) — A federal judge in Louisiana on Thursday set the maximum penalty against BP in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

According to court documents, for the purposes of calculating the maximum allowed civil penalty, 3.19 million barrels of oil were discharged into the Gulf of Mexico in the spill. In coming up with that number, the court determined that four million barrels were released from the reservoir and the difference between the two figures was collected.

The documents featured multiple experts’ estimates of the cumulative oil discharge, but does not specify how the court came to the final figures. The experts’ estimates range from 2.4 million barrels to six million barrels. In fact, the judge wrote that “there is no way to know with precision how much oil was discharged into the Gulf of Mexico.”

Still, the judge determined that “BP was not grossly negligent, reckless, willful, or wanton in its source control planning and preparation.” It was also determined that the misrepresentations of the flow rate did not cause the delay in capping the well.

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