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The Boston Globe

Business

BP trial to focus on oil spill’s size

Extent of 2010 Gulf disaster is key to damages

HOUSTON — With billions of dollars in penalties at stake, the civil trial of the British oil company BP begins its second phase Monday, which will set the amount of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, which killed 11 workers and soiled hundreds of miles of beaches.

The government will argue that a total 4.2 million barrels of oil was discharged into the sea over 87 days, the equivalent of nearly one-quarter of all the oil that is consumed in the United States in a day. BP will counter that the number was closer to 2.45 million barrels. This phase of the trial will also determine if BP prepared adequately for a blowout and if it responded properly once the oil started flowing.

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