UK News



British Queen celebrates

The US government is to sue BP for costs and damages resulting from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The firm is among eight companies named by the US Justice Department in a lawsuit filed in a New Orleans court.

On April 20, an explosion at BP's Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and led to the worst environmental disaster the region has ever seen.

The US administration is calling for the eight named firms to be held liable without limitation for all costs and damages under the Oil Pollution Act.

The lawsuit is also calling for the companies - which includes drilling rig operator Transocean and its insurer QBE Underwriting - to be held accountable under the Clean Water Act.

The US administration alleges that safety regulations were violated prior to the blast. It claims that the defendants failed to use the best available drill and neglected to adequately monitor conditions at the well.

Hundreds of millions of gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico following the accident.

In the process, it killed wildlife, polluted waters and shattered fishing communities along the coasts of Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

The overall cost to BP for the clean-up operation so far is just shy of 40 billion US dollars (£25 billion), and the civil action could see the total bill increased significantly.

But Business Secretary Vince Cable said BP is big enough to absorb the costs of the legal action, saying: "It is financially a very strong company."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved