Oil giant BP will today begin its federal civil trial over the Deepwater Horizon in 2010 oil spill in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
BP faces up to $17.6bn (£11.6bn) in civil claims and comes just a month after the firm paid £2.5bn to settle criminal charges.
The trial will be at least two phases. The first phase focuses on the causes of the oil spill, who was responsible and the extent to which they were responsible.
The oil spill was caused when the sinking of the rig caused the 1.5km long riser pipeline – which connects the well on the sea bed to the rig on the surface – to rupture.
BP, contractor Halliburton, rig operator Transocean, and Cameron, which manufactured the blowout preventer meant to stop oil leaks will all be investigated.
The second phase focusing on the oil flow rate and the number of barrels spilled will begin in September 2013.
“We have always been open to settlements on reasonable terms, failing which we have always been prepared to defend our case at trial,” said BP general counsel Rupert Bondy.
“Faced with demands that are excessive and not based on reality or the merits of the case, we are going to trial. We have confidence in our case and in the legal team representing the company and defending our interests.”