BP's North Sea Headquarters is seen in Aberdeen
BP's North Sea headquarters is seen in Aberdeen, Scotland January 15, 2015. Reuters

British oil major BP has failed to reduce the huge civil fine it faces in connection with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The company was seeking to reduce its maximum civil liability from $13.7bn (€12bn, £8.9bn) to $9.57bn, or $3,000 per barrel, under the federal Clean Water Act.

However US District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans rejected the attempt and stood with the Federal government, which wants BP to pay up to $4,300 per barrel.

The final civil penalty has yet to be decided by Barbier.

The judge had earlier reduced the company's spillage liability to 3 million barrels, 24% less than the claims by federal prosecutors, cutting the expected penalty by $4bn.

BP was earlier found to have acted with "gross negligence" and "wilful misconduct" in the actions that caused the spill.

At the end of 2014, the company booked charges totalling $43.5bn in connection with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. An additional charge of $477m was taken in the fourth quarter of 2014 reflecting increased provision for litigation costs, additional business economic loss claims and other costs.

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the BP-owned Macondo Prospect, which spilled oil into the surrounding Gulf of Mexico waters over a three-month period. Eleven workers on the rig died in the explosion and swathes of marine life were poisoned.

BP has been hit by a number of pieces of civil and criminal litigation from people and businesses affected by the spill. Two phases of the trial over BP's negligence and the amount of oil spill have been completed.