BP Plc (BP/) seeks to have Halliburton Co. (HAL), its cement contractor for the Macondo well project whose blowout set off the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, pay all of the oil company’s related costs and damages.
BP had paid more than $21 billion in cleanup costs and economic damages to individuals, businesses and governments harmed by the spill as of Dec. 1, the company said on its website. BP reserved more than $40 billion to cover costs related to the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig (RIG).
The oil company seeks “the amount of costs and expenses incurred by BP to clean up and remediate the oil spill, the lost profits from and/or diminution in value of the Macondo prospect, and all other costs and damages incurred by BP related to the Deepwater Horizon incident and resulting oil spill,” Don Haycraft, BP’s lead trial attorney, said in a filing yesterday in federal court in New Orleans.
BP and Halliburton accuse each other’s employees of making critical mistakes that caused the blowout of the London-based oil company’s well off the Louisiana coast in 2010. The explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.
BP, which owned the Macondo lease, and Halliburton, which provided well-completion services for the project, jointly face more than 500 lawsuits by coastal property owners, businesses and governments claiming billions of dollars in damages from the drifting oil. The lawsuits have been combined for pretrial processing in federal court in New Orleans, where a judge is scheduled to begin a trial in February to determine liability for the spill.
Halliburton, based in Houston, has said in court papers that its cementing-services contract requires BP to indemnify it from all damage claims, even if its employees were found to have shared blame for the disaster.
BP, rejecting that argument, accused Halliburton in yesterday’s filing of gross negligence. That level of misconduct “will suffice to eliminate any indemnity obligation for damages of any kind,” Haycraft said in the filing.
Halliburton has said in court filings that the actions of BP’s employees caused the explosion on the rig.
“Halliburton believes it is fully indemnified by BP against any loss resulting from the Macondo incident and any penalties arising from the violations,” Beverly Stafford, a spokeswoman for the company, said yesterday in an e-mail.
Transocean, Mitsui (8031)
The defendants in the lawsuits over the spill also include Switzerland-based Transocean Ltd. (RIG), the owner of the Deepwater Horizon; Cameron International Corp. (CAM), the maker of the blow-out prevention equipment used on the well; Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC), which owned 25 percent of the Macondo prospect; and Mitsui & Co.’s Moex Offshore LLC unit, which owned a 10 percent stake in the well.
Cameron, Anadarko and Mitsui have reached settlements with BP. Transocean, along with Halliburton, hasn’t.
The case is In Re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).
To contact the reporter on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at email@example.com