LONDON, April 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is withholding documents related to the amount of oil discharged from the 2010 accident in the Gulf of Mexico, lawyers for BP said.
States along the southern U.S. coast had tourism, fisheries and other economic sectors severely damaged by the 2010 oil spill. The accident was one of the worst for the oil industry and 11 workers died in the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
Lawyers for the supermajor are challenging claims made in August by the Flow Rate Technical Group that 4.9 million barrels spilled from the site. BP, reports London newspaper The Daily Telegraph, accuses the U.S. government of trying to "shield documents reflecting discussions and deliberations concerning a factual issue, namely, the amount of oil discharged during the spill."
The amount spilled during the 2010 incident will be used to determine what BP pays in terms of fines under the U.S. Clean Water Act. The company contends 3.2 million barrels were spilled during the accident, a difference of around $7 billion in terms of penalties.
A trial against BP was postponed in March after the British energy company announced it reached a $7.8 billion settlement with the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, a consortium of individuals and businesses involved in a multi-district suit against the oil company.