Compiled from agencies -A U.S. federal court has rejected petroleum giant BP's efforts to halt payments relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and said that an earlier injunction stopping payments to claimants should be lifted. BP had argued that some firms filed fictitious spill claims and complained that the payout formula was too generous. However, "the settlement agreement does not require a claimant to submit evidence that the claim arose as a result of the oil spill," wrote the court in its verdict.
In 2012, BP agreed to make payments to those who suffered economic losses as a result of the disaster aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The explosion killed 11 workers and spilled an estimated four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
As a result of the ruling, BP will potentially have to pay out billions more to businesses than it had previously thought. The firm initially estimated the spill settlement would cost $7.8 billion but later revised that figure upwards to $9.2 billion once the full scope of the claimants became apparent. BP has said that an adverse ruling could push that figure even higher. As of February 11, the settlement fund had paid out more than $3.8 billion to businesses who claimed to have been adversely impacted by the oil spill. Another $1 billion has been approved but not yet paid.
The U.S. government's Sept. 2011 report pointed to the defective cement on the well, faulting mostly BP, but also rig operator Transocean and contractor Halliburton.
Earlier in 2011, a White House commission likewise blamed BP and its partners for a series of cost-cutting decisions and an insufficient safety system.