San Francisco: Former BP executive David Rainey has been acquitted in a US federal courtroom of lying to investigators about the size of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill five years ago.
The jury in New Orleans took about two hours to decide the British oil giant’s one-time Vice President of Gulf of Mexico exploration was not guilty of making false statements about the April 2010 calamity.
Their verdict marked another setback for prosecutors in their efforts to bring individuals to account for the worst offshore oil spill in US history.
When the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded it killed 11 workers, wrecked the platform and let an estimated 5 million barrels of oil pour into the waters over 87 days before it was staunched.
In the days after the explosion Rainey was tasked with calculating the amount of oil gushing into the gulf.
Rainey, the highest-ranked BP executive to be charged in the matter, had denied working out the numbers to match the government’s initially low assessment of the spill. In this case he was charged with lying about having done so during an interview with federal investigators almost a year later.
One of the factors that helped Rainey’s defence was that, in the early days of the spill, nobody was able to figure out how much oil was flowing.