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Was BP ‘Grossly Negligent’ in Deepwater Horizon Spill?

Whether BP will be found “grossly negligent” in its handling of the Deepwater Horizon rig is one of the next big questions in the saga of the Gulf oil spill. To meet that standard, BP would have had to ignore various safety regulations. If that’s the case, the company will be charged $4,300 for every barrel that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after the April rig explosion. If they are not found to be in violation of regulations, the company will be charged $1,100 per barrel, the Houston Chronicle notes.

Courts have yet to decide whether BP was grossly negligent, but speculation is rampant.

If you believe Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), the company believes the decision will come down against it, and that’s why executives have said it will pay “all legitimate claims,” well beyond the $75 billion economic claims cap.

According to a letter from Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott, via the Chronicle:

The truth is that BP has not asserted the cap because it acknowledged that evidence would reveal that the explosion and resulting spill were the product of gross negligence — which renders the statutory cap irrelevant. We know this because, during a conference call with Gulf Coast attorneys general, BP General Counsel Jack Lynch acknowledged that gross negligence would be revealed as a cause of the explosion that led to the oil spill.

The Chronicle reports that BP executives have said they believe the company will not be found grossly negligent and a BP spokesperson says Perry’s assertion is “incorrect.”

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