If BP is confident enough to think that they are not "grossly negligent", then they shoud not consider anything greater than 4.5 billion dollars (4.09 million barrels times $1100). I suspect a deal will be made for 6.25 to 7.5 billion in order to make the states feel they beat the big bad wolf and BP will have preserved shareholder value. I suspect that a low percentage of actual awards will go towards to environmental activities. It will get sucked up and used for other "economic" activities just like the tobacco settlement. Another opportunity for the states to back up to the BP feed trough.
It is not clear from the reporting and other information coming out just what leeway the judge has in setting the fine, but I believe that he can choose any number between the minimum and maximum allowable. Proof of gross negligence is unlikely; however he may find that BP was more than just "negligent". For this reason I believe the fine will be in the 8-10 billion range (CWA only). The states' litigation has not been discussed at any length or with any associated value range (other than absurd), so this remains a big question in my mind. It is not clear whether or not this aspect of the case is to be combined with the CWA trial, to run concurrently or to be decided in completely separate deliberations. As others have said, I think BP's payments and recovery aid to the states and local communities has been generous and perhaps beyond reasonable, but clearly the states want more. It is a conundrum in that the GOM is of significant importance to BP, yet the greed of the lawyers, politicians and a fair portion of the population is reprehensible. BP's option might be to pull all of its operations out of the area and say goodbye. This would certainly have a negative impact on the region's economy, and perhaps send a message to those who want to bite the hand that feeds them. Let's hope that resolution is quick and that the state suits are favorably dispensed. BP has stood forward and done everything they could without hesitation, and this should be a large consideration in the judgment IMHO.