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BP's Robert Dudley on the Gulf Oil Spill's Legal Aftermath

Dudley discusses the legal mess in the Gulf, BP’s reduced commitment to green energy, and Americans’ dislike for oil companies

Dudley at the New York Office of the Brunswick Group, BP’s corporate communications firm
Photograph by Jeremy Liebman for Bloomberg Businessweek

After the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP said it wanted to clean up the mess, pay what it owed, and get on with business. Three years later, you’re at war with plaintiffs’ lawyers. What happened?
It was a terrible accident. And from that time on, we said we would want to step up and make good. We are still committed to make sure that legitimate claimants and people who were true victims of the spill are paid. Immediately after the spill, we set up our own facilities across the Gulf and paid out around $400 million. Then, during the Ken Feinberg settlement process, more than $6 billion was paid out. [BP hired Washington attorney Kenneth Feinberg to oversee claims payments.] And then we made a deal with a plaintiffs’ steering committee to complete the process of paying out to legitimate victims of the spill.