Anadarko Petroleum was ordered by a U.S. federal judge to pay a $159.9 million civil fine tied to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident.
According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans ruled last week that, while Anadarko was not at fault for the spill, the company’s 25 percent stake in the Macando well made the firm a part of the “polluting enterprise” that caused the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
The penalty is equivalent to about $50 per barrel of oil spilled, significantly less than the up to $1,000 per barrel penalty Barbier could have ordered under the Clean Water Act and far less than the over $1 billion fine the government was seeking.
In his decision, Barbier wrote that the fine “strikes the appropriate balance between Anadarko’s lack of culpability and the extreme seriousness of this spill.”
Anadarko said that it was pleased that the fine was “far less” than the government had been seeking but it is still evaluating its appeal options.
“Today’s ruling clearly shows that the Court gave significant weight to its previous findings that as a non-operating investor in the Macondo Well, we had no role in the events that caused the tragic 2010 spill, and bear no fault. While we respect the Court’s decision, we continue to believe that penalizing a non-operator for events beyond its control is inconsistent with the intent of the Clean Water Act,” the Texas-based company said.
Texas-based Anadarko paid BP $4 million in 2011 to help cover victim claims and cleanup expenses.
Last year, Barbier found that BP was “grossly negligent” and guilty of willful misconduct for the Deepwater accident that left 11 people dead.
Texas-based Halliburton and Switzerland-based Transocean were found negligent but not reckless.
The judge divided fault for the spill at 67 percent for BP, 30 percent for Transocean and 3 percent for Halliburton.
In October, BP reached a $20.8 billion civil settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and five Gulf states to resolve civil claims tied to the April 2010 accident.