Things have got to be tense over at BP right now, as reports are whirling here there and everywhere that the company is likely going to shell out billions of dollars to pay a criminal penalty related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also reportedly going to plead guilty to criminal misconduct as part of the plea deal it’s reached with the Department of Justice.
The final plea deal conditions are expected to be announced today, notes the Chicago Tribune and other media reports, all citing sources familiar with the situation. BP is pleading guilty and paying the fine — the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history — in order to avoid prosecution on further charges
Another source says two BP employees are on the hook for manslaughter charges related to the 11 people who died during the explosion on the oil rig that led to 206 million gallons of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. That source also claims BP will plead guilty to obstruction for lying to Congress about how much oil was gushing out of the broken well.
The person said BP will plead guilty to obstruction for lying to Congress about how much oil was pouring out of the ruptured well, but it’s unclear ultimately how many billions the company will pay. It’s already cost BP billions to clean up the results of the oil rig disaster, as well as billions in civil lawsuits.
The Justice Department said in a pre-trial filing that it would attempt to show how BP’s decisions ultimately led to the disaster.
“We do not use words like ‘gross negligence’ and ‘willful misconduct’ lightly,” a Justice Department attorney wrote. “But the fact remains that people died, many suffered injuries to their livelihood, and the Gulf’s complex ecosystem was harmed as a result of BP and Transocean’s bad acts or omissions.”
BP to pay record criminal fine for Gulf oil spill [Chicago Tribune]