BP share price: Group challenges ‘gross negligence’ Gulf spill ruling

Written by: Alice Young
October 21, 2019

iNVEZZ.com, Friday, October 3: BP Plc (LON:BP) has asked a US court to reconsider a September ruling which found the UK oil major ‘grossly negligent’ over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, raising the potential liabilities for the company by about $18 billion (£11 billion).

As of 09:46 BST, BP’s share price had added 0.96 percent to 444.34p.
**BP challenges ‘gross negligence’ verdict**
BP yesterday filed a motion, asking the US district court in New Orleans to grant a new trial or amend its September decision when Judge Carl Barbier ruled that the energy group was guilty of ‘gross negligence’ over the Deepwater Horizon incident. ()

The UK group argues that Judge Barbier’s ruling was based on evidence which he had previously agreed to exclude from the ongoing trial.
The evidence is related to expert testimony about how the Macondo well’s casing was breached, given by Gene Beck of Texas A&M University, an expert witness called in by Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), the company which provided the cement used to seal the well. Beck’s ‘casing-breach theory,’ however, was excluded by the court at the trial.

“The Court should now reject this theory as it did during the trial,” BP said in a statement.
A finding of gross negligence could raise the maximum Clean Water Act penalty for the UK group to $4,300 per barrel spilled, compared with $1,100 per barrel in the case of ordinary negligence. Judge Barbier has set a trial for January to calculate the fine.

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BP is also trying to limit the cost of its 2012 settlement, challenging the interpretation of the court-appointed administrator which allows businesses which suffered no losses as a result of the oil spill to receive compensation.

**Analysts on BP**
As of September 26, the consensus forecast amongst 52 polled investment analysts covering BP for the Financial Times has it that the company will outperform the market.
Analyst Ratings Network reports that the FTSE 100 oil major currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 509.47p.
BP is scheduled to update investors on its third-quarter performance on October 28.
**As of 10:17 BST, buy BP shares at 444.75p.**
**As of 10:17 BST, sell BP shares at 444.65p.**