BP disputes 2010 Gulf spill estimate

Lawyers for the Justice Department and BP PLC – the oil company largely responsible for spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 – finished arguing in court on Friday over exactly how much oil was discharged.

Government experts estimated that the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 workers, caused 176 million gallons of oil to spill into the Gulf. BP attorneys have urged U.S. District Judge Barbier to set the figure at nearly 103 million gallons.  

The final number will determine how much BP pays for the cleanup. Using government figures, a maximum penalty if the company is found grossly negligent could total $18 billion. The company’s figures would result in a $10.5 billion fine.

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Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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