A federal judge has ruled that BP cannot be held liable for losses incurred by energy and drilling firms when US authorities ordered suspension of drilling in the wake of April 2010’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Reuters and Bloomberg.
Carl Barbier, US District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, said in New Orleans that under federal law BP was liable only for economic losses caused by the spill itself.
The British oil firm could not be held responsible, said Barbier, for US authorities’ decision to ban drilling for six months and impose a moratorium on issuing drill permits in the wake of the disaster in which the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 people.
It was followed by a massive oil spill from the uncapped well, a spill that lasted almost three months and for which BP was found liable previously.
This new ruling clears BP of potential payouts that could measure in the billions of dollars. The company has already incurred $55bn in costs relating to the disaster.
It still faces another suit from investors who claim that BP misled them by downplaying the severity of the oil spill in its early days.