BP returns to court to try to hold down fines that could hit $18 billion in a new phase of the Gulf of Mexico trial that will rule on how much oil it spilled in 2010. Starting today in New Orleans, this second of three trial phases, could – in the worst outcome – land the company with a bill five times greater than the $3.5 billion it has set aside for fines.
The outcome hinges on what the court decides about whether BP made every effort to cap the well, and what it decides about the dispute over how much oil escaped into the Gulf. The trial is being heard by US district judge Carl Barbier.
The first phase, which wound up in April, was to apportion blame for the events leading up to the fatal blowout of the well among…
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