Officials from BP, formerly British Petroleum, will be back in a New Orleans courtroom next week. It's part of a complex federal case that will ultimately determine responsibility in damages for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And that's the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. NPR's Debbie Elliott's been following the trial and joins us. Deb, thanks for being with us.
DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Glad to be here.
SIMON: Remind us of what's at stake in this phase of the case.
BP is fighting the settlement it agreed to last summer that let the oil company avoid thousands of potential lawsuits over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Just after the spill, when oil was still gushing into the Gulf, BP touted the $20 billion it set aside for claims. But now it says the claim process is corrupt and is hoping a court will overturn the settlement that established the claims fund.
Ending the claims would mean stopping a well-oiled machine.
Five states and leaders of several federal agencies have unanimously approved a blueprint to repair the Gulf of Mexico with BP fines pending over the 2010 oil spill. Governor Bobby Jindal’s comments in New Orleans about BP and his support for Mississippi River diversions drew immediate criticism.
A federal judge has approved Transocean Ltd.'s agreement with the Justice Department to pay $1 billion in civil penalties for its role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said in his ruling Tuesday that he found "no just reason for delay" in approving the civil settlement.
Last week, a different judge approved Transocean's criminal settlement with the federal government. The company pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and will pay an additional $400 million in criminal penalties.
BP says it has failed to reach a settlement in advance of next week's civil trial on the Deepwater Horizon accident and is ready to defend itself vigorously against allegations of gross negligence in the U.S.'s biggest environmental disaster.
Rupert Bondy, the group's general counsel, said in a statement Tuesday that settlement demands were "not based on reality or the merits of the case."
Billions are at stake in the Feb. 25 trial in New Orleans to determine BP's civil liability. BP already agreed to a $4.5 billion settlement of federal criminal charges.
The British oil company, BP, announced its 4th quarter earnings today, and its net profit was about a billion dollars lower than a year earlier. BP has been shrinking as assets have been sold off to pay for its liabilities tied to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
BP has agreed to a $4 billion settlement of a criminal case filed by the Justice Department over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A pending civil case could cost tens of billions of dollars more in penalties.