NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The man who oversees settlement payments to people and businesses claiming economic losses as a result of BP's 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill says more than $5 billion has been paid out.
Patrick Juneau announced the milestone in a Wednesday news release, five days ahead of the disaster's fifth anniversary.
The money is being disbursed under a 2012 settlement. That agreement was hailed by all involved when it was signed. However, BP later said that Juneau had misinterpreted its provisions and was making payments to some entities whose losses weren't caused by the spill. Courts rejected that argument.
In 2012, BP estimated it would pay roughly $7.8 billion to resolve claims under the settlement. BP later said it couldn't give a reliable estimate for the deal's total cost.
The oil giant says it has spent approximately $28 billion so far as a result of the spill, including the response, cleanup, early restoration work and claims payments. It also is awaiting a federal district court ruling on how much it will owe in Clean Water Act penalties as a result of the spill.
The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20, 2010, at BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and triggering the worst offshore spill in U.S. history. It took crews nearly three months to cap the leak.