BP leader pledges more aggressive oil exploration as lawsuits from 2010 Gulf oil spill grind forward

BP 435x292 BP leader pledges more aggressive oil exploration as lawsuits from 2010 Gulf oil spill grind forwardEven as BP is fighting complex civil litigation in court this week, attempting to diffuse the blame for the 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, BP CEO Bob Dudley told a group of top energy executives the oil company is prepared to aggressively pursue energy exploration around the world. He made the remarks Wednesday morning at the IHS CERAWeek conference, which is the leading gathering of senior energy decision-makers from around the world.

Eleven workers were killed when the oil platform exploded, and oil gushed from the ruptured Macondo well for months before it could be capped, devastating the Gulf Coast.

BP and Plaintiff’s lawyers reached a class-action settlement agreement in May, which will work to resolve claims of economic losses from the oil spill for businesses and individuals in five Gulf Coast states. A business does not have to be located near the coast in order to be eligible for compensation. It is estimated the settlement could total around $8 billion.

Then in January, BP pleaded guilty to 14 federal criminal charges related to the oil spill. BP will pay $4 billion to resolve the criminal charges including manslaughter and obstruction of Congress.

In February, the trial to determine civil fines under the Clean Water Act began in federal court. It is estimated BP may be required to pay in the neighborhood of $21 billion, depending on whether the court determines the company acted with gross negligence in the events leading up to the spill.

Today, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison allowed BP investors to expand claims alleging BP violated U.S. securities laws. This multibillion-dollar lawsuit alleges BP hid the true size of the oil spill in order to limit damage to its stock price. A lawyer representing the investors told Bloomberg Businessweek BP’s then-CEO Tony Hayward made public statements that the company was up to date with all safety regulations, but then said in a post-spill deposition that he knew the safety program hadn’t been fully implemented yet on the Gulf of Mexico drilling operation.

Despite this pile of lawsuits stemming from the deadly explosion and the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, today Dudley pledged that BP will “play a central role in the blossoming energy exploration opportunities around the world, especially in the U.S. and Russia.” This includes plans to continue oil exploration and drilling “in the deepest waters.” The 2010 Gulf oil spill occurred in a well located a mile beneath the ocean’s surface, which complicated the company’s efforts to stop the leak.


Bloomberg Businessweek
Chicago Tribune
IHS CERAWeek 2013