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Halliburton Opposes BP’s Proposed Settlement of Gulf Spill

Halliburton Co. is opposing a $7.8 billion proposed settlement between BP Plc and lawyers suing the London-based company over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to a court filing.

BP in March agreed to resolve most private plaintiffs’ claims for economic loss, property damage and spill and clean-up related injuries. Lawyers for BP and the plaintiffs filed the accord April 18 with U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans for preliminary approval. Barbier is considering the request for approval at a hearing tomorrow.

Halliburton “objects to the limited amount of time available to analyze the settlement agreements and files these preliminary objections,” Donald E. Godwin, a lawyer for the Houston-based company, said in court papers today. The proposed agreements cover two classes, for economic loss and medical injury.

Halliburton also objects to the agreement because it assigns BP’s claims against the company to the plaintiffs lawyers and attempts to make Halliburton “liable in part for settlement payments,” Godwin said. The settlement also restricts Halliburton’s ability to settle claims, he said.

The blowout and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The accident prompted hundreds of lawsuits against London-based BP; Transocean Ltd., the Vernier, Switzerland-based owner and operator of the rig; and Halliburton, which provided cementing services.

Proposed Settlement

The proposed settlement, reached March 2, days before a scheduled trial on liability for the 2010 spill, doesn’t cover federal government claims and those of the Gulf Coast states Louisiana and Alabama.

Also excluded are claims of financial institutions, casinos, private plaintiffs in parts of Florida and Texas, and residents and businesses claiming harm from the Obama administration’s moratorium on deep-water drilling prompted by the spill.

BP and the Plaintiffs Steering Committee, a group of lawyers appointed by Barbier to handle the lawsuits, asked the judge to hold a Nov. 8 fairness hearing before final approval of the accord and to postpone any trial on liability until after the hearing.

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).

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