Judge rules against BP in Gulf oil spill payout dispute

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A court-appointed claims administrator can continue making payments to businesses affected by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico while BP appeals a judge’s decision in a dispute over payouts.

A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled against BP’s request for a stay of an April 5 order, the Associated Press reported.

At that time, a federal judge rejected BP's attempt to block the Deepwater Horizon claims administrator from awarding what it said could be billions of dollars in payments for "business economic losses" that the British oil giant contends are based on "fictitious" assertions of damage.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier refused to block what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses that say the spill cost them money.

Meanwhile, BP's cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded said Monday that it is trying to negotiate a settlement over its role in the disaster, a focus of trial testimony that ended last week, according to another AP report.

Halliburton chief financial officer Mark McCollum said during a conference call to discuss first-quarter earnings that talks were at an "advanced stage." The Houston-based company says it hopes court-facilitated negotiations will resolve a substantial portion of private claims it has faced since the Deepwater Horizon rig blast spawned the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

Halliburton and BP have blamed each other for the failure of the cement job to seal the Macondo well. During the trial, BP asked Barbier to sanction Halliburton for allegedly destroying evidence about the role that its cement slurry design could have played in the blowout.

Click here for the report on Monday’s ruling.

Click here for the Halliburton settlement report.

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