Oil giant BP has warned that millions of dollars of “fictitious” compensation claims for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill are putting the company at risk.
The group has sought an injunction to stop payouts to companies which its argues are claiming fraudulent or inflated losses from its $8.2 billion (£5.4bn) compensation pot.
Reports said an appeal document recently filed by BP in the US courts argues that businesses from the Gulf coast have been handed millions of dollars for “non-existent, artificially calculated losses”.
The blow-out of the Deepwater Horizon well off the Louisiana coast in 2010 claimed 11 lives and damaged fishing and tourism industries as well as marine and wildlife habitats, forcing BP to agree a multibillion-dollar compensation deal in April 2012.
But BP warned in the court filing that it will be “irreparably harmed” unless the compensation system is reformed. The oil giant has reportedly said the cash drain could put its dividend at risk and make it vulnerable to a takeover.
According to reports, BP said it has “been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars – soon likely to be billions – for fictitious and inflated losses”.
BP is said to be planning to ask Prime Minister David Cameron to persuade the US government to intervene.
The claim reportedly adds: “If this travesty is allowed to continue, BP will be irreparably harmed and future defendants will be reluctant to settle because they cannot be confident that settlement agreements will be construed textually and fairly.”