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BP faces year-long wait for spill closure [USA]

The plan set out by the New Orleans judge hearing the civil trial over the accident, set to start on February 25, means any decisions on civil penalties and environmental damages are not expected to come until next year…The companies include Transocean, the owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig, and Halliburton, which provided the cement that was supposed to secure the well…The trial will be…looking at the causes of the explosion on the…drilling rig, and…assessing how much oil escaped from the Macondo well… Several settlements have been reached, including Transocean’s $1.4bn deal with the US Department of Justice over criminal and civil claims against it, and BP’s $4.5bn agreement covering only criminal charges…After the trial concludes, it will be followed by separate proceedings to assess penalties under the Clean Water Act…and damages under the Oil Pollution Act...BP has denied gross negligence, and is also contesting the US government’s estimate that 4.9m barrels of oil were spilled, arguing that the actual volume could be as little as a third of that…

Part of the following stories

US Dept. of Justice focuses on BP's role in Deepwater Horizon disaster in lead up to 25 Feb trial

US Deepwater Horizon explosion & oil spill lawsuits