BP, Anadarko may face billions in fines after court ruling

|About: BP p.l.c. (BP)|By:, SA News Editor

BP and Anadarko Petroleum (APC) could be facing billions of dollars in fines after the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans said today the companies are automatically liable under the U.S. Clean Water Act as co-owners of the Macondo well that blew out and started the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The court upheld a lower-court decision that allows the U.S. to seek up to $18B in fines from BP if it is found grossly negligent for its actions surrounding the spill; APC faces a maximum of $4.6B.

The Clean Water Act allows the government to seek fines of as much as $1,100/bbl spilled on a finding of strict liability and up to $4,300/bbl for gross negligence; the ruling leaves both companies immediately vulnerable to the $1,100/bbl fines.