BP Asks Court to Halt Gulf Spill Payout

Exorbitant fees and bogus claims have inflated Deepwater Horizon settlement payments, claims the oil company

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U.S. Navy / Getty Images

Oil burns during a controlled fire in the Gulf of Mexico after the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in 2010.

BP has asked a U.S. court to stop payments in its settlement agreement for the Gulf of Mexico spill until concerns over fraud are resolved.

It’s the latest in a string of moves by the oil giant to halt or delay payments for the disaster that killed 11 workers and released about four million barrels of oil into the sea in 2010.

The company had expected the payout to cost $7.8 billion but has faced about $42.4 billion in charges since the disaster — a sum it claims has been driven up by excessive fees and phony claims.

BP says the court appointed administrator should put efficiency and accounting controls in place before the payments continue.

“There is no assurance that dishonest and illegitimate claims are being detected and denied,” said BP spokesman Geoff Morrell. “Payments of such claims would cause BP irreparable injury.”

The firm has made two previous unsuccessful attempts to freeze the payouts.