BP's ad campaign over oil spill

BPBP is placing a full-page advertisement in three of America's largest newspapers on Wednesday as the company mounts an aggressive campaign to challenge what could be billions of dollars in pay-outs to businesses following its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ad, scheduled to run in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, accuses "trial lawyers and some politicians" of encouraging Gulf Coast businesses to submit thousands of claims for inflated or non-existent losses.
"Whatever you think about BP, we can all agree that it's wrong for anyone to take money they don't deserve," the ad says. "And it's unfair to everyone in the Gulf - commercial fishermen, restaurant and hotel owners, and all the other hard-working people who've filed legitimate claims for real losses."

In April, US District Judge Carl Barbier rejected BP's request to block all pay-outs to businesses through a multi-billion dollar settlement it reached with a team of private plaintiffs' lawyers. The London-based oil giant appealed against the decision. A three-judge panel from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear the case on July 8.
BP's ad claims Judge Barbier's ruling "interprets the settlement in a way no one intended" and results in settlement pay-outs to businesses that did not suffer any spill-related losses.

"Even though we're appealing the misinterpretation of the agreement, we want you to know that the litigation over this issue has not in any way changed our commitment to the Gulf," it says.

BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said the newspaper ad is consistent with the company's efforts to keep the public informed of its economic and environmental restoration efforts. "It explains the actions we are taking to defend the contract we agreed to and to assure the integrity of the claims process," he said.

"But it is also intended to make clear that BP remains as committed today as it was three years ago to doing the right thing. While we are actively litigating the payments by the claims programme for inflated and even fictitious losses, we remain fully committed to paying legitimate claims due to the accident."

Judge Barbier appointed Lafayette-based lawyer Patrick Juneau to administer the settlement programme. BP has accused Mr Juneau of trying to rewrite the terms of the settlement and claims he has made decisions that expose the company to what could be billions of dollars in fictitious claims.

But the judge upheld the claims administrator's interpretation of settlement terms that govern how businesses' pre- and post-spill revenue and expenses - and the time periods for those amounts - are used to calculate their awards.

The top 10 Fortune 500 companies
See Gallery
BP's ad campaign over oil spill

Wal-Mart Stores, or Walmart, is a retailer that runs chains of discount department and warehouse stores around the world. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, it is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas and has around 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under 55 different names.

Exxon Mobil Corporation, or ExxonMobil, is an oil and gas corporation formed on November 30, 1999 by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, it has 37 oil refineries in 21 countries.

Chevron Corporation is an energy company headquartered in San Ramon, California. It is active in more than 180 countries and is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and generation.

Phillips 66 is a holding company - created when ConocoPhillips spun off its downstream assets - that only began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on May 1, 2012. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the company has approximately 14,000 employees worldwide.

Berkshire Hathaway, controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffet, is a multinational holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. The company wholly owns GEICO, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom and Helzberg Diamonds, as well as half of Heinz and significant minority holdings in American Express and The Coca-Cola Company.

At number 6 on the list, it's highest ever position, is iPhone and iPad manufacturer Apple. And Fortune managing editor Leigh Gallagher told CBS News that the computer giant could be even higher up the list if companies were ranked differently. Apple breaks into the top 10 for the first time this year," Gallagher said. "But if you were to rank the Fortune 500 by profits not revenues, it would be number two behind Exxon."

General Motors Company, or GM, is a multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. It employs more than 200,000 people and manufactures the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Vauxhall brands, among others.

General Electric Company, or GE, operates in four segments: Energy, Technology Infrastructure, Capital Finance and Consumer & Industrial. Its foundation dates back to 1889, when Drexel, Morgan & Co. helped Thomas Edison to merge his many electricity-related companies to form Edison General Electric Company.

Valero Energy Corporation is the world's largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer. It has 16 refineries and 10 ethanol plants stretching from the US West and Gulf coasts to Canada, United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

Ford Motor Company (also known as Ford) is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Founded by Henry Ford in 1903, it is still controlled by the Ford family, which now has a minority stake.

Read Full Story