"Justice Department Deal Reduces BP's Deepwater Horizon Fine By $3.4Bn"

"Court reduces company's maximum fine a week before trial over blowout that dumped millions of gallons of oil into Gulf of Mexico."

"BP has shaved $3.4bn off the maximum fine for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

A court order, handed down by a judge in New Orleans, means BP will no longer be liable for a maximum of $21bn in fines at next week's civil trial – after a judge ruled the oil company would not have to pay for 810,000 barrels of oil collected at the source of the broken well.

The oil company had been facing up to $21bn in fines in the civil case, based on the amount of oil that gushed into the Gulf following the fatal blowout of its well.

The federal government estimates that about 4.9m barrels of oils were released before BP engineers sealed off the well three months later.

The case was set to be the costliest to date for BP, which has already spent billions on cleanup costs, and settling thousands of claims arising from the 2010 disaster."

Suzanne Goldenberg reports for the Guardian February 20, 2013.

Source: Guardian, 02/21/2013