U.S. judge approves $20B settlement for Deepwater Horizon spill

Carl Barbier, United States District Judge has approved a settlement between the U.S. and BP, over damages stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, under which BP is to pay approximately $20 billion in installments by 2031.

The consent decree ordered by the judge addresses civil claims against BP arising from the Deepwater Horizon incident from April 2010, when the Transocean-owned rig exploded at the BP-operated Macondo well, killing eleven workers, and spewing more than 3 million barrels of oil in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The decree includes claims for civil penalties, natural resource damages, response costs, and other damages. The Gulf States and BPXP have also entered into a separate settlement agreement addressing economic damages and other claims arising from the Deepwater Horizon Incident asserted by each Gulf State against BP Entities.

Commenting on the order by Judge Carl J. Barbier, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said: “The approval of this agreement will open a final, hopeful chapter in the six-year story of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. Today’s action holds BP accountable with the largest environmental penalty of all time while launching one of the most extensive environmental restoration efforts ever undertaken.”

Sierra: Money can’t undo the damage

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said: “While we are pleased to see BP finally held accountable for the Deepwater disaster under the Clean Water Act, no amount of money can ever undo the damage BP inflicted on Gulf communities and our environment in 2010.”

“The only way we can protect our waters, our coastal communities, and our climate is to end offshore drilling all together and keep dirty fuels in the ground. The Obama administration can accomplish this by removing the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean — like the Atlantic Ocean before it — from the Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program, safeguarding them from future guaranteed catastrophes, like the Deepwater Horizon spill.”

Settlement breakdown

The settlement includes:

$8.1 billion for natural resource damage
$5.5 billion for Clean Water Act civil penalties
Up to $700 million for future unknowns
$350 million to reimburse state and federal assessment costs
$250 million to reimburse response and removal costs
The total restoration funds to the State of Florida includes $680 million in natural resource damage payments and $572 million in Florida RESTORE Act Allocations, which include:
$308 million for Direct Component (Pot 1) funds to the Florida Counties
$242 million for the Spill Impact Component (Pot 3) funds to the Consortium of 23 Counties
$22 million for the Centers of Excellence

Offshore Energy Today Staff