In separate Deepwater Horizon settlements, the British oil company BP paid over $28 billion, Transocean paid $1.4 billion, and Halliburton paid $1.1 billion in claims, penalties and cleanup costs as of December 2014, reports USA Today. BP may be liable for $18 billion more in civil penalties.
The Deepwater Horizon settlement is the result of litigation after an explosion on an oil rig on April 20, 2010, killed 11 people, caused a three-month oil spill, and devastated the environment and businesses along the Gulf Coast of the United States, according to CNN. BP agreed on a class settlement without upper spending limits to avoid years of litigation, the embarrassment of public exposure and possible worse terms if the case went to trial, explains the New York Times. Later, BP regretted the settlement, claiming that many businesses unaffected directly by the spill were demanding payment and bloating the cost of compensation, states USA Today. Although BP appealed the settlement decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, the court refused to hear the case.
The $1.4 billion that Transocean, the owner of the oil rig, paid included federal, civil and criminal penalties, according to USA Today. Halliburton, a Houston-based company that designed and built the BP oil well, pleaded guilty to destroying evidence of 3-D computer simulations of the well structure. The Halliburton settlement did not include an admission of negligence and precluded future criminal charges against the company for negligence in the well construction.