The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have published accounts of a settlement between the Justice Department and BP PLC (NYSE: BP) over the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. BP has already spent tens of billions of dollars for clean-up costs and settlements with businesses and people harmed by the leak. The U.K.-based company also has sold off assets to gird its balance sheet against suits by the United States.
The deal could resolve a significant share of the liability that BP faces after the explosion killed 11 workers and fouled the shorelines of four Gulf Coast states in the worst offshore spill in U.S. history. BP, which saw its market value plummet and replaced its CEO in the aftermath of the spill, still faces economic and environmental damage claims sought by U.S. Gulf Coast states and other private plaintiffs.
BP shares are thus far inactive in premarket trading but rose fractionally yesterday after hours to $40.29. The 52-week range is $36.25 to $48.34.
Douglas A. McIntyre