BP seeks to recoup 'windfall' Gulf spill payments

Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:48pm EDT
 
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - BP Plc (BP.L: Quote) has asked a U.S. judge to direct what it called a "vast number" of businesses to repay hundreds of millions of dollars it says were wrongly awarded as compensation on claims stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

In a Friday court filing, BP asked U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans to require businesses to make restitution plus interest of excess payments, which it called "windfalls." It also requested an injunction to stop the businesses from spending these excess sums.

BP said letting the overpayments stand would create discrepancies that reward some businesses whose awards were made sooner. It also said "there is no public interest in permitting dissipation of assets to which claimants had no right."

Friday's request escalates BP's legal battle over how to interpret its 2012 settlement to resolve claims by businesses who said they suffered economic losses because of the spill.

BP has long said the businesses' lawyers and claims administrator Patrick Juneau have misinterpreted the settlement, allowing recoveries without proof that the spill caused losses.

The London-based oil company has said the uncapped settlement could cost $9.2 billion, higher than its original $7.8 billion estimate, and that this amount could grow.

On June 9, the U.S. Supreme Court said BP must continue to pay claims as it pursues legal challenges to the payouts.

Friday's filing came six months Barbier directed Juneau to change his policy in reviewing claims applications, and ensure that claimants be able to "match" revenues with costs for the purpose of calculating financial losses.   Continued...

 
BP logo is seen at a fuel station of British oil company BP in St. Petersburg, October 18, 2012.  REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk