BP partner MOEX settles oil-spill claims with U.S., state governments
MOEX Offshore, a 10-percent owner in BP’s Macondo well, agreed Friday to pay the federal government and Gulf states $90 million to settle claims involving BP’s 2010 oil spill, which left hundreds of square miles of the Gulf of Mexico awash in crude oil. The settlement includes the largest Clean Water Act penalties ever recovered by the U.S. government.
The settlement was filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, where the BP oil-spill trial will open on February 27. MOEX agreed to pay the U.S. government $45 million in civil penalties, $25 million to all of the Gulf states, and an additional $20 million to fund environmental protection projects on the coast.
“The Department of Justice has not wavered in its commitment to hold all responsible parties fully accountable for what stands as the largest oil spill in U.S. history,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “This landmark settlement is an important step — but only a first step — toward achieving accountability and protecting the future of the Gulf ecosystem by funding critical habitat preservation projects.”
MOEX is the first of BP’s Macondo well partners and contractors to settle with the federal government over the spill, which gushed for 85 days and released more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.
Last May, MOEX agreed to pay BP more than $1 billion in exchange for indemnification against thousands of damage claims the oil giant faces. BP also reached similar agreements with partner Anadarko and contractor Weatherford International.
The federal government will put its $45-million share of penalties into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is tapped to cover the cleanup costs and damages from future oil spills. Louisiana will get the largest share of damages — $67 million – followed by Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi, which will each get $5 million; and Texas, which will get $3.25 million.