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Report: BP, government near settlement

Oct. 11, 2012 at 8:32 AM
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HOUSTON, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. government and BP are close to settling civil and criminal penalties from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Sources close to the discussions said negotiations have intensified over the last two weeks, coming closer to an agreement, though differences between BP and the U.S. Department of Justice could slow the momentum of the talks, Journal reported Wednesday.

In 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 rig workers and led to one of the worst offshore oil disasters in U.S. history in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP could be liable for $5.4 billion to $21 billion in civil damages depending on the level to which the company was negligent in the disaster, a key point of contention between BP and the government.

In September, there was a $6 billion difference on a final settlement figure between the two sides, a source whose name was not reported, told the Journal.

Also at stake is whether the Justice Department will levy fines through the National Resource Damage Assessment provision of the Oil Pollution Act.

Some critics said a fine through the provision would divert more funds to Louisiana because it bore more of the brunt of the environmental damage than the other affected states, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas.

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