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Anadarko Tells BP It’s Withholding Reimbursement

James T. Hackett
James T. Hackett, president and chief executive officer of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation speaks in London, Tuesday September 20, 2005. Photographer: Andy Shaw/Bloomberg

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the Texas- based oil company with a stake in the leaking Gulf of Mexico Macondo well, said it told BP Plc it’s not paying for spill costs because the U.K. company’s actions caused the disaster.

Anadarko stands by its June 18 comments about London-based BP’s role in the incident, John Christiansen, a company spokesman, said today in an e-mail. Anadarko, based near Houston, said that day that BP’s actions related to Macondo “likely represent gross negligence or willful misconduct.”

“Although we have notified BP that we are withholding reimbursement to BP at this time, we remain committed to working with BP in good faith to achieve a satisfactory resolution,” Christiansen said.

BP, which owns 65 percent of the leaking well, said in an e-mailed statement today that Anadarko informed the company July 7 it was withholding payment of its share of costs, including those related to containment efforts. BP said it’s disappointed Anadarko failed to live up to its obligations under the operating agreement and Oil Pollution Act.

“With respect to our relationship with Anadarko, BP will continue evaluating options under the operating agreement and the law,” BP said in a statement.

BP said Anadarko’s refusal to pay won’t affect the commitment to stop the leak, clean it up and pay legitimate claims as fast as possible.

Mitsui’s Share

Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., which is 70 percent-owned by Japan’s second-biggest trading house, Mitsui & Co., has a 10 percent stake in the well. BP said today that a unit of Mitsui Oil Exploration has a payment deadline of July 12. To date, BP said, that unit hasn’t responded to the payment demand.

A spokesman for a unit of Mitsui Oil Exploration said he couldn’t immediately comment.

Christiansen declined to say how much money Anadarko, which has a 25 percent stake in the well, is withholding.

BP asked Anadarko to pay about $272 million, according to documents released by the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security. The company also asked a unit of Mitsui Oil Exploration to pay more than $111 million, according to the documents.

Hearing Planned

The subcommittee said today that it plans to hold a July 22 hearing featuring testimony from Anadarko Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett; Naoki Ishii, president of the MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC unit of Mitsui Oil Exploration; and Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of a Gulf claims fund.

The oil spill began after an April 20 explosion on a rig BP leased from Transocean Ltd. to drill the well. BP is capturing some of the oil and is working on relief wells to stop the flow. Anadarko’s partnership agreement with BP calls for arbitration to resolve disputes.

Anadarko rose 85 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $45.41 as of 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. BP’s American depositary receipts rose 31 cents to $34.05.

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