BP said yesterday it has been presented with a bill of at least $34bn (£21.7bn) from US states and local governments over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
The figure, which BP says is based on “seriously flawed” methodology, would move the total cost of the disaster to more than $90bn.
The announcement came as full-year underlying replacement cost profit at the oil major fell to $17.6bn, compared to $21.7bn over 2011.
Fourth quarter profits came in above expectations though, at $4bn compared to $5bn over the same period in 2011, helped by record earnings from its downstream business.
The results come just days after a US court approved a $4bn settlement for criminal penalties relating to the oil disaster, which killed 11 workers and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for three months. BP added that it took a $4.1bn additional charge in the fourth quarter to cover its criminal settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice, racking up a bill of $42.2bn for the Deepwater disaster so far. The $34bn in claims, as well as other penalties such as those under the US Clean Water Act, would put costs above $90bn.
Chief executive Bob Dudley said that BP was prepared to settle all remaining civil claims on reasonable terms before the trial on 25 February.