Court rules BP, Anadarko must pay fines for 2010 Gulf spill


The two major oil companies that owned the Gulf of Mexico well that blew out in 2010 cannot avoid federal fines by blaming another company, a court ruled.

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled Wednesday that BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. are responsible for penalties under the Clean Water Act and cannot blame Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and blowout preventer, The Associated Press reported.

In 2010, a failure of the blowout preventer caused an explosion that killed 11 workers and caused oil to spill into the Gulf for months.

Transocean pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges last year and agreed to a $1 billion fine.

BP and Anadarko did not comment to AP on the appeals court’s decision.

Blaine LeCesna, a Loyola University law professor, predicted Anadarko would not likely have to pay much of a fine, if any, because its agreement with BP gave BP control over the well’s operations. Additionally, Anadarko paid BP $4 billion in 2011, which BP said would be used to compensate individuals and businesses harmed in the disaster.

The Fifth Circuit court ruled last week that BP must continue paying settlement claims from the disaster while the Supreme Court considers whether to take an appeal from BP on whether people and businesses would have to prove they were harmed in the 2010 disaster to receive a settlement.