At the high court in London earlier this month, a group of Colombian farmers accused BP of negligence and breaching a duty of care over the building of a new oil pipeline.
BP – whose professional indemnity team are already battling claims filed in the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill – is accused by a group of 73 farmers of failing to abide by the proper environmental procedures when constructing the Ocensa pipeline in Colombia.
Lawyers acting for the farmers claim that BP’s negligence caused water to be poisoned, livestock to perish and crops to fail, as well as damage and erosion to groundwater and soil. The lawsuit claims that BP could have done more to prevent this by taking proper soil erosion control measures on land owned by the farmers.
One of the solicitors representing the farmers, Paul Dowling, has said:
“The emerging evidence in this case has brought to light BP’s central role in the construction of the Ocensa pipeline, and its failure to adequately appreciate risk and implement basic measures to protect the local environment and the livelihoods of impoverished local communities.”
BP has denied the allegations of negligence on its part, and claims that the construction work caused no long-term damage to the farmers land. The company will no doubt have a professional indemnity insurance policy in place to cover the costs of defending this kind of case.