potential buyer might be forced to accelerate the payment of up to two thirds of the $18.7 billion in penalties the company agreed to pay the U.S. and several states, according to company filings. As it stands, BP has more than 15 years.
The measure codifies many of the steps that companies have already taken to better keep offshore wells in check, including more rigorous maintenance and testing of the blowout preventers that act as a last line of defense against uncontrolled surges of oil and gas.
The Obama administration is poised to lay out new requirements for controlling offshore wells, nearly five years after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill vividly illustrated the damage that can be unleashed when they are not kept in check.
“There is no dispute that BP lied,” about how much oil flowed from the Macondo well during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said, but that didn’t factor in to the effort to stop the blowout.
BP wants a federal judge to cap its potential oil-spill pollution fines at a maximum of $12.3 billion, a move that would cut away nearly a third of the penalties U.S. prosecutors are seeking for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
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