BP seeks Supreme Court review of oil spill payments to certain gulf businesses

BP PLC said it would ask the US Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court’s rejection of the company’s effort to stop businesses along the Gulf of Mexico coast that have “no apparent connection” with the April 2010 deepwater Macondo oil spill from collecting settlement payments.

An incident involving the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling rig resulted in a massive oil spill in the gulf offshore Louisiana that took months to resolve. The Deepwater Horizon drilled the Macondo well for BP and partners.

In March, a ruling from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans appears to indicate BP was responsible for billions of dollars more in payments than the company originally estimated in a 2012 settlement agreement.

BP issued a May 21 statement saying it plans to ask the appeals court not to issue a mandate pending any Supreme Court review. The decision to seek a high court review comes after a “sharply divided” appeals court denied BP’s request for a rehearing, the company said.

Initially, BP estimated the oil spill settlement would cost it $7.8 billion, but later increased that estimate to $9.2 billion after more businesses made claims than anticipated.

But BP now believes the appeals court certified “a class that includes substantial numbers of claimants who were not harmed by the spill and thus lack standing to bring suit…. That, in turn, will surely alter the calculus for companies in determining whether to enter into class-action settlements or engage in protracted litigation that would delay compensation for true victims.”

BP said it is willing to compensate those who suffered actual losses resulting from the spill.

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