Deepwater Horizon Civil Trial Postponed

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February 26, 2012

The civil trial over the Deepwater Horizon disaster has been postponed until March 5 to give BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) and lawyers representing those who say they were injured by the oil spill more time to reach a settlement, both sides said Sunday.

The trial, which had been slated to begin Feb. 27 in Federal District Court in New Orleans, is meant to determine the culpability of BP and other companies for the explosion that killed 11 and unleashed the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Later trials will determine how much oil escaped from the well and how successful the companies involved were at containing and cleaning it up.

BP and the plaintiffs lawyers “are working to reach agreement to fairly compensate people and businesses affected by the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill,” they said in a joint statement. “There can be no assurance that these discussions will lead to a settlement agreement.”

Other parties involved in the complex case include the U.S. Department of Justice and the attorneys general of Louisiana and Alabama. The companies involved in the April 2010 incident, including Transocean Ltd. (RIG) and Halliburton Corp. (HAL) are also battling amongst themselves over who was at fault.

By Leslie Eaton, The Wall Street Journal

(c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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