Let's see - that's 33 days at up to 50,000 barrels a day or roughly 1,650,000 barrels times 4300, equals roughly $7.1 billion US. That's the tab BP could face for the Deepwater Horizon spill if it's fined under the US Clean Water Act. From Reuters:
The little-known, seldom applied clause in the Clean Water Act was added in 1990 after the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, and was intended to beef up the arsenal of penalties the government can apply to oil spillers to deter future disasters.
"These civil penalties could be staggeringly high, possibly running into the billions," said Professor David Uhlmann, director of the Environmental Law program at University of Michigan.
Total liability -- including civil fines as well as the cost of clean-up, economic damages and potential criminal liability -- "will run into the billions and may be in the tens of billions," Uhlmann said.
Under the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency can seek in federal court to fine any party whose negligence results in an oil spill in U.S. federal waters.
The basic fine is $1,100 a barrell but that can be increased to $4,300 per barrell if the court finds the spill resulted from gross negligence. It's the "gross" part that's tough to prove but Congressional investigations seem to point to a measure of wilful neglect on the part of the companies involved in this drilling rig.
Oopsie, maybe there won't be any Christmas bonuses this year at Bandito Petroleum.