(Adds quote from court)
HOUSTON, Sept 4 A federal judge has found oil
giant BP Plc "grossly negligent" for its role in the 2010
spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a ruling that could add billions of
dollars in fines to the more than $42 billion in charges taken
so far for the worst offshore disaster in U.S. history.
Shares of BP traded in the United States fell 5 percent, or
$2.40, to $45.31.
"The Court concludes that the discharge of oil 'was the
result of gross negligence or willful misconduct' by BP, the
ruling from U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said.
The company has shrunk since it was forced to sell assets to
pay for the disaster aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig
that killed 11 workers.
Barbier has yet to assign damages from the spill under the
federal Clean Water Act, though previous calculations by Reuters
have shown fines could run to $17.6 billion in the costliest
Barbier apportioned 67 percent of the fault to BP, 30
percent to Transocean Ltd, which owned the drillship,
and 3 percent to Halliburton, which did cement work on
the Macondo well that blew out.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Karolin Schaps; editing by
Kate Holton; Writing by Terry Wade)