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US Supreme Court denies BP and Anadarko bids to curtail Deepwater Horizon penalties

The US Supreme Court on Monday turned down attempts by BP and Anadarko Petroleum to limit their exposure to civil penalties under federal pollution law for the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010.

BP (65%) and Anadarko (25%) owned the bulk of interest in the Macondo well which erupted on April 20 that year, destroying the Deepwater Horizon rig, claiming 11 crewmen’s lives and causing 87 days of unstaunched oil flow into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

In this case the two companies were hoping a favourable ruling by the Supreme Court might exempt them from some of the fines for oil spilled as a result of failed equipment on the drilling rig, which was owned by Swiss firm Transocean Ltd.

But the Court declined to hear their appeal and in so doing upheld a June 2014 ruling by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals (based in New Orleans), which held the companies liable for civil penalties under the federal Clean Water Act.

BP faces possible maximum civil penalty $13.7bn and Anadarko could be hit for $1bn.

Already BP has incurred more than $42 billion in costs for the spill, factoring in cleanup, fines and victim compensation.

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