NEW ORLEANS — BP is placing full-page advertisements in three of the nation’s largest newspapers on Wednesday as the company mounts an aggressive campaign to challenge what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses after its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The ad, scheduled to be published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, accuses “trial lawyers and some politicians” of encouraging Gulf Coast businesses to submit thousands of claims for inflated or nonexistent losses.
“Whatever you think about BP, we can all agree that it’s wrong for anyone to take money they don’t deserve,” the ad says. “And it’s unfair to everyone in the Gulf — commercial fishermen, restaurant and hotel owners, and all the other hard-working people who’ve filed legitimate claims for real losses.”
In April, Judge Carl J. Barbier of Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana upheld a court-appointed claims administrator’s interpretation of the multibillion-dollar settlement it reached with a group of lawyers for plaintiffs.
The oil company, based in London, appealed the decision. A three-judge panel from the Fifth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is scheduled to hear the case on July 8.
BP’s ad claims Judge Barbier’s ruling “interprets the settlement in a way no one intended” and results in settlement payouts to businesses that did not suffer any spill-related losses.
“Even though we’re appealing the misinterpretation of the agreement, we want you to know that the litigation over this issue has not in any way changed our commitment to the Gulf,” it says.
Geoff Morrell, BP spokesman, said the ad was consistent with the company’s effort to keep the public informed of its economic and environmental restoration efforts.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers claim BP simply undervalued the cost of settlement.
Esteemed petroleum engineer and academician Ali Ghalambor has more than 32 years of industrial and academic experience in the oil and gas industry. For more updates on the developments in the energy sector, visit this Facebook page.