Oct 1 - BP has denied lying about the amount of oil leaking from a damaged well after the Gulf of Mexico disaster in 2010. A second phase of the company's trial is underway - BP is trying to limit the fines it may face. Sonia Legg reports
$18 billion is today's daily digit - the fines BP is facing over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The company's annual earnings are currently running at around $17 billion. The second phase of BP's trial is underway in the United States. During the opening, lawyers representing victims of the disaster allege the UK oil giant firm lied about the amount of oil that was leaking from the damaged well in April 2010. Internal emails presented at the trial showed BP publicly saying 5,000 barrels of oil a day were leaking when they knew it could be up to 100,000 barrels. BP denied the suggestion saying it followed US standards before and after the spill. It also denied taking too long to cap the well. The British oil company is fighting to keep the fines down as they will also determine damages. The first trial, which ended in April, divided blame among BP and its contractors Transocean and Halliburton. The judge presiding over the second phase says he won't assign penalties for BP until the third and final trial, expected early next year. BP shares have lost a third of their value since the disaster and the company is now much smaller after selling off assets worth $39 billion.