A third-party audit has found that a Court-Supervised Settlement Program has correctly processed more than 99 percent of claims by businesses and individuals arising from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a newspaper reported.
The audit by Chicago-based tax and consulting firm McGladrey LLP concluded the program is "well-designed and appropriate." It made no major recommendations for improvement, according to NOLA.com/The Times Picayune (http://bit.ly/1vir0dv).
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Claims administrator Patrick Juneau made the audit findings public on Tuesday, it added. Juneau said in a statement that the audit shows the claims program is working properly.
"It speaks volumes as to what has been accomplished to date," he said.
Steve Herman and Jim Roy, lead attorneys for businesses and individuals who have filed claims against BP, said the audit notes the program "gets claims right 99.5 percent of the time."
"That 'is a significant accomplishment,' as stated by the ... independent audit committee," the attorneys said in an emailed statement Wednesday to The Associated Press.
BP has been fighting in court seeking to remove Juneau and challenge the settlement program, which the energy company claims is riddled with fraud and errors. But two weeks ago, a federal judge in New Orleans rejected BP's request to remove Juneau from the post over the company's claims of conflict of interest. BP said it is considering options for appealing that decision.
BP Vice President Geoff Morrell said in a statement that the company is reviewing the audit report.
"The audit took place over the course of a year, and we have just received the report," Morrell said, adding any further comment would come later "as appropriate."
According to the report, McGladrey examined 1,852 claims out of the 53,512 claims submitted to the settlement program approved in 2012, two years after the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster. The total value of the reviewed claims was $741 million. More than half of the claims were for individual or failed business losses, according to the newspaper.
The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico for months. BP had leased the rig from another company.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com