Deepwater Horizon

(Photographer: Derick E. Hingle/Bloomberg)

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster of 2010 will soon be coming to a movie theater near you. It is a serious movie, as the curious can see from the trailer.

It will need to be serious to do justice to its subject, given that 11 men died when natural gas and oil bursting out of the Macondo well exploded into a fire that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich and Kate Hudson and is directed by Peter Berg.

BP Plc was operating the floating rig in water 5,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico when well control was lost April 20, 2010. A court estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil were spilled. As of its latest quarterly report, BP has recognized cumulative charges of $55.45 billion for the disaster. That does not include other costs that the company said it could not yet estimate.

Litigation may continue for quite some time. A negotiated settlement has been reached with the federal government and five Gulf Coast state governments, accounting for $20.8 billion of those cumulative charges.

Multidistrict class-action litigation is continuing in New Orleans in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, case no. 2:10-md-2179. That litigation is by people and organizations claiming harm from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

At the same time, class-action securities litigation by BP investors is continuing against the company in Houston in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, case no. 4:10-md-2185.