By JAMES HERRON
LONDON -- UK-listed oil and gas giant BP said Tuesday it
will defend itself vigorously in court next week against claims
from the US government for fines related to the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill, which the company described as "excessive
and not based on reality."
The company said it
believes the US government's estimate that 4.9 million bbl
of oil were spilled in the Gulf of Mexico during the incident
is overstated by at least 20% and includes another 810,000 bbl
of oil that BP captured from the leaking well, thus never
making contact with the environment.
"BP believes that a figure of 3.1 million barrels should be
the uppermost limit of the number of barrels spilled that
should be used in calculating a Clean Water Act penalty," the
company said in a statement.
"The US Department of Justice has indicated that it agrees with
BP's position on this issue."
BP added that it expects to be fined less than the statutory
maximum under the Clean Water Act of $1,100/bbl spilled, or
$4,300/bbl if the company were to be proved grossly negligent
in its actions prior to the spill.
"We firmly believe we were not grossly negligent," BP
Dow Jones Newswires