BP Cops a Plea

Washington Post among others reports:

BP has agreed to a plead guilty to 14 criminal counts, including manslaughter, and will pay $4 billion over five years in a settlement with the Justice Department over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company and Justice Department announced Thursday.

In addition, the London-based oil giant will pay $525 million over three years to settle claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which said the company concealed information from investors.

The article claims that this is the single largest settlement of a criminal matter in history.

Individuals working for BP will also be prosecuted. This is quite correct. BP was always considered criminally negligent by the oil industry. This may well also have been the single largest incidence of criminal negligence in history.

While it should also be credited to BP that their engineering staff more or less managed to get the situation under control, and that this was a remarkable feat, this doesn’t in any way compensate for the gross irresponsibility, and the enormous damage that resulted.

Whether this should affect your opinion on offshore oil is another matter. Clearly this disaster was completely avoidable.


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