BP 'grossly negligent' in 2010 U.S. spill, fines could be $18 bln

Author: Anna Rosenburg

HOUSTON/NEW YORK, Sept 4 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has decided that BP Plc was "grossly negligent" and "reckless" in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill four years ago, a ruling that could add nearly $18 billion in fines to more than $42 billion in charges the company took for the worst offshore environmental disaster in U.S. history.

BP said it would appeal Thursday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, Louisiana, who held a trial without a jury last year to determine who was responsible for the April 20, 2010 rig explosion and spill that killed 11 workers and spewed oil for nearly three months onto the shorelines of several states.

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There will be "long-term repercussions," Gianna Bern, who teaches international finance at the University of Notre Dame, said of the energy sector. "Potential liability is now in the stratosphere and that limits the number of players that can engage in this type of activity."

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