Court rules BP guilty of gross negligence and wilful misconduct.

FT: “BP is digging in for a long legal battle that could defer for several years the financial impact of Thursday’s court ruling that it acted with gross negligence and wilful misconduct in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
“It’s going to be a long time before we resolve this,” Brian Gilvary, BP’s chief financial officer, told the Financial Times. “The appeals process could take a number of years. This is just another step in the process.”
He also said that BP was financially strong enough to cope with the potential penalties of up to $18bn that could arise from the ruling. BP was “running a strong balance sheet and . . . we will manage all scenarios,” he said.
Mr Gilvary was speaking a day after Judge Carl Barbier of the US District Court in New Orleans found that BP had acted with gross negligence in the 2010 disaster, which killed 11 people and caused the worst offshore oil spill in US history.
The ruling, the first key decision to come out of the civil trial over the spill, means that under the Clean Water Act BP faces a penalty of up to $4,300 for each barrel of crude spilled. Based on the US government’s estimate that 4.2m barrels leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, that would mean a maximum penalty of about $18bn.
….The judge’s 153-page ruling highlighted BP employees’ failure to run properly a critical safety test, and listed a series of other decisions that he said taken together amounted to “reckless” conduct and showed a “conscious disregard of known risks”.
….BP argues that only 2.45m barrels leaked from the well into the water, implying a significantly lower maximum penalty of $10.5bn.”