You are hereReuters: BP squares up for oil spill lawsuits

Reuters: BP squares up for oil spill lawsuits

-By Tom Bergin

February 7, 2012- (Reuters) - BP ratcheted up the rhetoric around multi-billion dollar claims from the Gulf oil spill by warning it would "vigorously" contest lawsuits over one of the world's worst environmental disasters.

While reiterating BP's "bias for settling" at hearings scheduled later this month, CEO Bob Dudley said he would only do so "on fair and reasonable terms."

As he unveiled higher fourth quarter profit on Tuesday and a rise in the dividend, which he said showed BP was putting the spill behind it, Dudley acknowledged the lawsuits were the biggest uncertainty facing the British oil major.

"We have many people who do say, we are interested in investing in BP but not until all this is behind you," he told a press conference.

BP faces 600 civil lawsuits from people in states as far away as South Carolina and Kentucky, as well as litigation from the U.S. government.

"We always have had this bias toward settling and moving on, and reducing uncertainty," Dudley said.

But he added; "We are preparing vigorously for trial. We have confidence in our case."



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