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BP Oil Spill Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Economic and Property Damages Settlement?

This Settlement resolves certain economic loss and property damage claims related to the Deepwater Horizon Incident, including claims for:

  • Business Economic Loss
  • Individual Economic Loss
  • Real Property Sales Loss
  • Loss of Subsistence
  • Vessel Physical Damage
  • VoO Charter Payment
  • Coastal Real Property Damage
  • Wetlands Real Property Damage
  • Seafood Compensation

As part of the Settlement, a Court-Supervised Settlement Program has been established to review and pay qualified claims made by individuals and businesses that are members of the Economic Class and affected by the Deepwater Horizon Incident.

2. Why is there a Settlement?

In August 2010, all of the lawsuits against BP and the other defendants concerning the Deepwater Horizon Incident were consolidated before one Court, in litigation called In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 (MDL 2179). Enormous amounts of time and effort were spent by all parties as the litigation moved towards trial, which was set to begin on February 27, 2012.

At the same time as they prepared for trial, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and BP also began settlement negotiations, because both sides recognized that a trial would be costly and risky. After over a year of continuous negotiations, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and BP reached agreement on the Economic and Property Damages Settlement.

Both the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and BP think the Settlement Agreement is fair and in the best interests of the Plaintiffs, all those in the Economic and Property Damages Class, and BP.

3. How much is the Settlement for?

There is NO LIMIT on the total amount of the Settlement (with the exception of the Seafood Compensation Program which is limited to $2.3 billion). The actual total amount paid out will depend on the number of qualified claims made, and could be higher or lower than BP’s estimate.

4. What is the current status of the Settlement?

On June 2, 2012, payments resumed on BEL claims.  On June 9, 2014, the Supreme Court denied BP’s request to halt payments.  The original deadline to file claims was April 22, 2014.  However, the deadline has been extended due to BP’s appeals.

5. What is a class action settlement?

Generally, in a class action, a court appoints representative plaintiffs (called “class representatives”) to represent a group (or “class”) of others who have claims similar to the class representatives’ claims. Then that court resolves the issues for the class representatives and all the class members, except for those who choose to exclude themselves from the class.

The Economic and Property Damages Settlement is a class action settlement. Here, the class representatives are the individuals and businesses named as plaintiffs in the Class Action Complaint. These “Economic Class Representatives” represent a larger group of individuals and businesses with similar claims (the “Economic Class”). Those who meet the class definition are called the Economic Class Members.

This Settlement resolves the claims made against BP by the Economic Class in the Class Action Complaint.

6. How do I know if I am included in the Settlement?

If you are a business, individual, or other entity that operations with “The Zone”, then you are by default included in the settlement unless you have chosen to opt out of the settlement.

7. What are the different zones and maps for?

The map of the Gulf Coast Areas and the Specified Gulf Waters shows whether you or your business could be a member of the Economic Class.

For certain types of claims, the location of your property is a factor in determining if your property is eligible for that type of claim, and if so, the amount of your payment. For example, to be eligible to make a claim for Coastal Real Property Damage, Real Property Sales Damage, and Wetlands Real Property Damage, your property must be located in the Claim Zone applicable to one of those Damage Categories. Further, for Coastal Real Property Damage Claims and Wetlands Real Property Damage Claims, whether oil was found near your property is also relevant to the calculation of your Settlement Payment.

You can find out what Zone(s) you, your business, or your property may be in by using the interactive mapping tool, which allows you to search the maps by entering an address, latitude and longitude, or pointing to a specific location on the map.

8. How do I find out what zone(s) I am in?

Click here for an interactive mapping tool that will allow you to search by address or by pointing to a location on the map, and provide information about what Zone that address or location may be in. If you are having trouble with an address entered into the mapping tool, it can be helpful to try using the “Find a Location” approach instead to find and click on the building/property to determine the zone information.

9. Are any Claims Excluded from the Settlement Agreement?

Yes. There are certain claims that are not recognized or released under the Settlement Agreement. They are considered “Expressly Reserved” to the Economic Class Members. These Expressly Reserved Claims are:

  • Claims for economic damage suffered by entities or employees (to the extent they allege economic damage based on their employment by such entity during the class period) in the Banking, Gaming, Financial, Insurance, Oil and Gas, Real Estate Development, Defense Contractor Industries, and entities selling or marketing BP-branded fuel (including jobbers and branded dealers)
  • Bodily Injury Claims
  • Claims by BP shareholders in any derivative action or direct action solely in their capacity as a BP shareholder
  • Moratoria Loss Claims
  • Claims relating to menhaden (or “pogy”) fishing, processing, selling, catching, or harvesting
  • Claims of the Economic Class for punitive damages against Halliburton and Transocean

10. Do I have to file a Claim to get a Settlement Payment?

Yes. Regardless of whether or not you previously filed a claim with BP or the GCCF, you must file a claim with the Settlement Program to request any Settlement Payments for which you may be eligible.

11. What is the process for evaluating Claims that are submitted for payment under the Settlement Agreement?

The Settlement Agreement established the new Deepwater Horizon Court-Supervised Settlement Program (“Settlement Program”), which replaces the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (“GCCF”) and the Transition Process that operated under Court supervision in the interim between the closing of the GCCF and the opening of the Settlement Program. The Court has appointed a number of Claims Administration Vendors that are responsible for reviewing claims submitted to the new Settlement Program pursuant to the Claims Processes described in the Settlement Agreement, to determine whether the claims are eligible for payment, and if so, calculate the amount of the Settlement Payment.