BP is facing arrests and the largest corporate criminal penalty in United States history, between $3 billion and $5 billion, pleading guilty to settle criminal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.
It will be the largest criminal penalty in US history, according to BBC business editor Robert Peston, who says the settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice involves BP pleading guilty to criminal charges.
It is thought that up to four BP staff may be arrested, Peston says.
“BP is thought to be relieved that it has reached a settlement, because the potential liability was unlimited,” says Peston.
Details of the settlement are expected to be confirmed by the Washington-based Department of Justice.
Any deal with the department would not include other claims including individual and federal claims for damages under the Clean Water Act, and state claims for economic loss, BP has said.
Human rights of thousands violated
The April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe over the Macondo Prospsect where it was drilling killed 11 workers, released millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days, is still spewing oil and methane, and has impacted the health and well-being of thousands of Gulf coast people exposed to oil and Corexit with no federal health aid to date.
Samples from an oil sheen last month matched those from the 2010 Macondo well blowout, as confirmed by the Coast Guard.
“The oil giant has been selling assets worth billions of pounds to raise money to settle all claims,” the BBC reports. “The company is expected to make a final payment of $860m into the $20bn Gulf of Mexico compensation fund by the end of the year.”
According to the BBC, BP booked provisions of $38.1bn to cover liabilities from the catastrophic event, but the company says “final cost remained highly uncertain.”
In September, a Coast Guard and federal regulators investigative report concluded BP bears ultimate responsibility.
BP violated U.S. regulations, ignored crucial warnings and made bad decisions while cementing the well a mile (1.6 kms) beneath the Gulf of Mexico at Macondo Prospect.
Deborah Dupré is author of the now available book, Vampire of Macondo, packed with censored stories about the BP-wrecked Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico that continues causing catastrophic human and environmental devastation. Dupré is on a coast-to-coast book tour. Follow the Vampire of Macondo tour on Twitter. For interviews, email firstname.lastname@example.org.