US court declines to block BP spill payments

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BP REUTERS BP's former CFO has died. Picture: Reuters.

Washington - The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to block payments BP is required to pay to businesses demanding compensation for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill while the company appeals a lower court ruling.

The high court rejected the company's emergency application, filed on May 28 after the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction that had prevented payments being made.

There was no immediate comment from BP on Monday's decision.

The previous week, the appeals court had decided not to revisit a decision rejecting BP's bid to block payments to businesses that could not trace their economic losses to the disaster.

The appeals court in March voted 2-1 to authorise payments on so-called business economic loss claims, and said the injunction preventing payments should be lifted. BP already has said it will seek Supreme Court review of the ruling.

BP is trying to limit payments over the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and rupture of BP's Macondo oil well.

The disaster killed 11 people and triggered the largest US offshore oil spill.

A lower court judge had ruled that BP would have to live with its earlier interpretation of a multibillion-dollar settlement agreement over the spill, in which certain businesses claiming losses were presumed to have suffered harm. - Reuters

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