ConocoPhillips Co. will pay $39 million to settle its part of a long-running lawsuit by New Jersey for environmental damages from groundwater contamination from MTBE.
Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is a gasoline additive used as an oxygenate and to raise the octane number. It has polluted groundwater due to MTBE-containing gasoline being spilled or leaked at gas stations. MTBE spreads more easily underground than other gasoline components due to its higher solubility in water.
New Jersey is among several states, municipalities, and water districts that have sued oil and chemical companies over contamination by MTBE, which hasn’t been used since 2006 but leaked from gas stations for decades. While the settlement in New Jersey will help the clean up efforts, it is short of the $236 million verdict obtained in New Hampshire and the $104.7 million verdict for New York City.