BP said its U.S. unit, BP Exploration & Production, or BP XP, is "limited" in its ability to pay the fines. A larger fine would drain the subsidiary of cash for 2015 and push it to the brink of insolvency, the company said.
The company argued this would be case even if oil prices neared $100 per barrel. Oil prices are half that amount now.
Federal prosecutors are seeking the topmost fine under the Clean Water Act, the law that governs water pollution. BP XP faces up to $4,300 in fines for every barrel of oil spilled, or about $13.7 billion total.
The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion killed 11 men and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. BP XP owned the failed Macondo oil well and is the named defendant in the federal government's case.
The government argues BP XP and its corporate parent deserve the maximum fine and can afford to pay it.
Each side presented its argument to U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier during the penalty phase of the trial, which ended in early February.
Barbier must now decide on a penalty. A ruling could come at any time.
Last week's filings were the final recap of arguments from the penalty phase of the trial.
BP presented multiple tables and graphs illustrating the financial state of its American subsidiary.
BP said BP XP has no cash set aside to pay a penalty and there is no guarantee its parent group would step in to provide credit or cash. The company added the unit is also limited in its ability to sell assets for cash.
BP reiterated it expects to pay more than $40 billion in oil spill costs. That includes $14 billion spent to stop and clean up the spill.
These factors should contribute to a lower environmental fine, the filing said.
If the court levies a large fine, the company said it would be forced to scale back its operations in the Gulf of Mexico and cut its regional workforce. BP employs about 2,300 workers on the Gulf Coast.
Neither the government nor BP examined how potential environmental fines would be structured. Both arguments appear to assume BP XP would face one, lump-sum payment.
Barbier noted during trial it is possible a large fine could be broken up into smaller, more digestible chunks and paid out over time.
Lawyers for BP and federal government conceded this was a possibility, but noted there was no precedent for a Clean Water Act fine being paid over time.
thanks,just feel its a bit of a rip off ,last time it was way above just a con,even when another broker reinvested div they got 447 neatly high of day I think its best to invest youself but for small amounts the commission is so high nowonder they have all the money
I seem to have paid 461 per share is this right or have I calculated wrong ,my account only shows more shares not what I paid ,on another account on div reinvest only paid 447 (even that is bit high) I feel these brokers are ripping me off ,
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