Energy company BP says it hopes to reduce its Clean Water Act fines in the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill trial's penalty phase, which began on Jan. 20, to the "lower end of the statutory range."

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled on Jan. 15 that BP should pay penalties for 3.2 million barrels of oil spilled in the 2010 disaster. That number is much lower than the 4.19 million bbl the federal government cited. Barbier said both sides presented strong arguments, adding, "There is no way to know with precision how much oil discharged into the Gulf of Mexico."

In earlier phases of the trial, the court found BP "grossly negligent" for its role in the spill. At a maximum fine of $4,300 per bbl BP would pay approximately $13.7 billion if the 3.2-million bbl number becomes the final one.