BP seeks to halt some compensation payments Reuters

BP has asked that some of its compensation payouts on the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill settlement be halted, arguing that the court-appointed administrator Patrick Juneau has misconstrued damage claims.

In a filing at the New Orleans court, the British oil and gas group pointed out examples of companies miles away from the spill that had received large sums in settlement. BP also pointed out that some firms that claimed they lost money due to the spill had performed more strongly in 2010, the year of the spill, than in previous years

"BP is already exposed to hundreds of millions of dollars in fictitious losses that were never contemplated by the agreement due to Juneau decisions on some loss claims," BP lawyers said in the filing, according to Bloomberg.

"Although the ultimate exposure is at this time inestimable, it grows daily and could cost BP billions".

In February the company, which has already given up a significant part of its businesses to pay for charges, raised its cost assessment on the settlement from $7.8bn (£5.1bn, €5.9bn) to $8.5bn.

BP noted that Juneau's decisions had extended settlement claims to areas the company had never considered.

BP is challenging a court ruling earlier this month that upheld the nature of compensation payments to businesses. The court decision revived questions that seemed to have been answered when BP accepted compensation terms for over 100,000 people and businesses.

The hearing is expected to recommence on 18 March.