BP To Pay Largest Criminal Fine In U.S. History For Deepwater Horizon Disaster

BP has agreed to pay a historic $4.5 billion criminal fine over a six-year period, after pleading guilty to 11 felony counts and criminal charges for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 workers. After two years, the litigation is not yet over since BP faces damages from Gulf states and additional civil charges from the Justice Department.

Much of the fine, $2.4 billion, will go to Gulf of Mexico restoration, where 5 million barrels of oil spilled over 87 days. Even now, an estimated 1 million barrels of oil remain in the waters, with excess oil washing up on Louisiana beaches as recently as September. Oil-soaked pelicans and other wildlife continue to wash up on shores. The disaster’s other legacies have produced eyeless shrimp and fish with lesions.

BP has earned tens of billions in profit since the 2010 disaster. In the last quarter alone, BP earned $5.4 billion net profit, bringing its total for the year to $9.7 billion. The company retains $15 billion in cash reserves, and has also spent $15 million lobbying Congress since 2011.

12 Responses to BP To Pay Largest Criminal Fine In U.S. History For Deepwater Horizon Disaster

  1. Christopher Scollard says:

    So, now we know how much a viable part of our oceans costs. It’s less than half of a corporation’s profit for business done AFTER THE FACT. We are doomed. But at least we got paid, right?

  2. Artful Dodger says:

    About 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled, not 5 billion as you state above.

  3. Lex says:

    Yawn. Wake me when they hang the denizens of the C suite in Jackson Square … or, better yet, make them walk the plank at the former Deepwater Horizon site.

  4. John McCormick says:

    Rebecca, its 5 MILLION barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf. Maybe more; but the typo needs a fix.

    And, that fine should be a small down payment for restoration of the Gulf shore and wetlands.

  5. Anne says:

    Several BP managers may be arrested as well. Jail time should be a part of this deal. Good article covering it:

  6. Mike Roddy says:

    Halliburton was also negligent, in signing off on faulty well casings. Apparently they are untouchable.

    The day will come when all of the fossil fuel companies will see their assets confiscated, including those that are parked in overseas bank accounts. The charges will be CO2 pollution, bribery of politicians, and distortion of scientific evidence.

  7. prokaryotes says:

    Tony Hayward, CEO of Genel Energy and formerly CEO of BP, will give a keynote speech at “PETEX” annual event of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain annual conference and exhibition, in London next week. He will speak about the future of the oil and gas industry.

  8. Zimzone says:

    So…BP will pay less in fines than they make in 3 months. Is that fair?
    The toll on tourism & individual States is bad enugh, which is why we all see those cheery BP paid for ads that run on all the Sunday talk shows, claiming the Gulf area has ‘never been better’.
    But what about the sea dwellers? How do we place a monetary value on many thousands of sick or dead animals suffering off camera?
    It’s my understanding new deep water oil leases are already being issued by the Fed when we don’t even know the actual extent of the BP fiasco.
    Tony Hayward should be the first behind bars. He can ‘get his life back’ after he serves his time.

  9. squidboy6 says:

    I spent a couple of years in Louisiana looking for work as an aquatic biologist and what I learned was that a lot of private companies were hiring but academic researchers weren’t getting funds. They are just beginning to. Sure, there were some good studies but fewer came out of LSU or SMU than should have, they have some very good researchers even though many are Masters degree level and from those institutions so they lack depth.

    UC California and Pennsylvania had some of the most important studies.

    Much of Louisiana’s seafood is sold and consumed in Louisiana and the catches had recovered except for oysters which are showing signs of a much greater damage than I expected, or a second factor involved in their decline. Fish with lesions and shrimp without eyes are still found but it wasn’t as large a problem as one would expect. The trends for seafood, except oysters, looks good.

    Louisiana is a closed system politically. I looked into several postings looking for somebody to teach fishermen to sell directly, but the people in charge didn’t want them to learn how to use the internet; the sales were to be local and into an already saturated market. There’s no future in that market and I’ve found this approach only in Louisiana, everywhere else they sell online if the product can be sold that way.

    The message is that private contractors are going to get the money for remediation and a lot of the money is going to get squandered. This is bound to happen everywhere but in the South it’s a larger problem. The Feds need to be involved to a greater extent than they would in the rest of the country.

  10. In line with the argument laid out at the BP CEO’s point that the settlement allows the company to reduce its legal risk suggests that the notion of criminal guilt somehow passed by the company.

    The Worden Report

  11. Lest it be thought that BP would get off the hook were only “human persons”…not “legal persons” in the form of corps…can be criminals because only we have intent and thus can be moral agents, three former employees of BP are to be indicted. To the company, a fine, whether civil or criminal, is cash out. We project the rest onto the distinction here.