BP yesterday announced that the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has accepted the company’s plea resolving all federal criminal charges against the company stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident, oil spill, and response.
The company offered its plea to the Court and was sentenced in connection with the agreement BP reached with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on November 15, 2012.
As previously announced, BP will pay $4 billion over a period of five years and will serve a term of five years’ probation. Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, the Court also ordered certain equitable relief, including additional actions related to BP’s risk management processes as well as several initiatives with academia and regulators to develop new technologies related to deepwater drilling safety. In addition, as outlined in the company’s November 2012 agreement with the DOJ, BP will appoint a process safety monitor and an ethics monitor, both with a term of four years, and an independent auditor will report annually on BP’s compliance with the remedial terms of probation.
At the hearing yesterday, Luke Keller, a Vice President of BP America Inc., addressed the Court, the families of the deceased, and other victims of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and reiterated the company’s deep regret and apology for its role in the Deepwater Horizon accident.
“We – and by that I mean the men and the women of the management of BP, its Board of Directors, and its many employees – are deeply sorry for the tragic loss of the 11 men who died and the others who were injured that day,” said Keller. “Our guilty plea makes clear, BP understands and acknowledges its role in that tragedy, and we apologize – BP apologizes – to all those injured and especially to the families of the lost loved ones. BP is also sorry for the harm to the environment that resulted from the spill, and we apologize to the individuals and communities who were injured.”
The charges to which BP pled guilty included one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act, which triggers a debarment following yesterday’s sentencing. By operation of law, conviction of a misdemeanor or felony under the Clean Water Act triggers a statutory debarment, also referred to as mandatory debarment. Mandatory debarment prevents a company from entering into new contracts or new leases with the US government that would be performed at the facility where the Clean Water Act violation occurred.
January 30, 2013