AP: Settlement Reached in BP Oil Spill Case

The Associated Press reported Friday that BP Plc has reached a settlement with a committee of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs suing the company over the April 20th Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Judge Carl Babier, who presides over the Federal District Court in New Orleans where the case was filed, said that the trial will be postponed a second time so that the settlement may be reviewed. No new date for the trial has been set.

Barbier explained that the settlement will likely result in the parties involved in the suit realigning, necessitating major changes to the trial plan.. The judge did not elaborate any further, and made no mention of the status of BP’s talks with government officials or other parties.

An oil rig called the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, killing eleven workers and leaking more than 200 million gallons of oil into the ocean from the Macondo well, which was owned by BP. The spill resulted in damage to sensitive wetland areas around the Gulf, reductions in the populations of area wildlife, and months of lost income to the region’s fishermen as commercial fishing was shut down for some time.

From BP’s standpoint, a settlement in the case would only represent a portion of its overall liabilities from the disaster, as many victims of the disaster chose not to join the class action suit and US officials are in discussions with the oil giant about regulatory fines and penalties for the spill. None of the parties involved in the suit disclosed an amount of the reported settlement.