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 said.
Dow Jones Newswires