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3 Aug 2010

Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor [USA]

Gulf oil spill biggest ever, could cost BP $21 billion in fines [USA]

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The government panel tasked with measuring the flow rate from the well released new data Monday night...suggest[ing] that...[o]ver the course of the blowout – from April 20 to July 15 – the Macondo well gushed 4.9 million barrels of oil, making it the largest accidental oil spill in world history... Most directly, the estimate will affect how much BP will have to pay in fines as a result of the spill. If courts deem BP grossly negligent in the spill – which would bring a steeper penalty – total fines could run to $21.1 billion. If BP is not deemed grossly negligent, that figure would shrink to $5.4 billion. But the new estimate also raises more questions about early downplaying of the flow rate by BP and its effect on the government's response to the spill.