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US judge says BP negligence at fault for 2010 oil spill

A court in Louisiana, USA, has deemed BP's 'gross negligence' and misconduct to be primarily at fault for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This could add billions of dollars to damages the company must pay.

A US federal judge ruled on Thursday that oil giant BP's gross negligence was to primarily blame for the largest oil spill in US history.

"The Court concludes that the discharge of oil was the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct by BP," read the ruling from US District Judge Carl Barbier, who presided over a two-part trial which began in February, 2013.

The ruling could add an additional $18 billion dollars (almost 14 billion euros) in fines to more than $42 billion in charges already taken.

The judge ruled that the British-based BP - and formerly known as British Petroleum - had known that drilling at the Macondo Prospect well carried a high risk of triggering a blowout, and that these practices were "an extreme deviation from the standard of care and a conscious disregard of known risks."

He also ruled that the company Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and oil services company


, were also negligent. Judge Barbier ruled that BP was responsible for 67 percent of the accident and Transocean and Halliburton responsible for 30 and 3 percent respectively.

Oil company to appeal

BP on Thursday said that it "strongly disagrees with the decision issued today by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana," saying it would immediately file an appeal at a higher court.

"BP believes that the finding that it was grossly negligent with respect to the accident and that its activities at the Macondo well amounted to willful misconduct is not supported by the evidence at trial," the company said in a statement.

The Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded on April 20, 2010, resulting in 11 deaths and an 87-day oil spill.

sb/ksb (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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