Supreme Court rejects BP, Anadarko appeals over Gulf oil spill fines

The Supreme Court will not hear appeals from oil giants BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. over potential federal fines for their role in the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The companies had been looking to avoid hefty, even historic, civil penalties under the Clean Water Act for the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the subsequent oil spill off the coast of Louisiana in 2010.

ADVERTISEMENT

BP and Anadarko owned most of the well that exploded and precipitated the spill, making them eligible for civil penalties.

A federal judge in New Orleans has ruled that the companies are responsible for spilling 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf after the April 25, 2010, explosion. BP could face a maximum penalty of $13.7 billion, and Anadarko could be forced to pay more than $1 billion. 

The two companies have tried to avoid the penalties by blaming the spill on failed equipment owned by another company, Reuters reports. That company, Transocean, paid a $1 billion federal fine last year.

A federal appeals court rejected BP’s and Anadarko’s arguments in November. A U.S. District Court judge has yet to announce penalties for the companies.

The Supreme Court declined the companies' appeals without comment on Monday.