BP plc : BP Deepwater Horizon Spill Trial Moved To 2013
05/04/2012| 04:35am US/Eastern
A trial to apportion blame and damages for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster will now start in 2013 after the New Orleans judge hearing the case scheduled a new start date.
The delay is a boost for BP PLC (BP), which is facing billions of dollars in fines from the U.S. government for its part in the incident.
The U.K energy giant now has more time in which to try and reach a settlement with other litigants, including the U.S. Justice Department and its former contractors on the doomed Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which exploded in April 2010, killing 11 and unleashing the worst marine spill in U.S. history.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier Thursday assigned a trial date of Jan. 14, 2013, more than 10 months after it was supposed to begin.
Barbier halted the trial, due to begin at the end of February, to allow BP more time to complete settlement negotiations with thousands of individuals and businesses hurt by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
BP has since agreed a $7.8 billion settlement deal with lawyers representing these plaintiffs. Judge Barbier will make a final decision on whether to ratify the settlement Nov. 8, although he has already given a preliminary ruling OK'ing the deal.
-By Alexis Flynn, Dow Jones Newswires. +44 2078429471, firstname.lastname@example.org