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Thursday, April 21, 2011

BP, Transocean and Cameron International Sue Each Other

BP Sues Halliburton Too

On Wednesday, BP filed suits in New Orleans against Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, and against Cameron International, the company that made the blowout preventer that failed last year, on the deadline (4/20) for bringing suits in the federal litigation surrounding the disaster. BP wants to ensure that, "all parties involved in the Macondo well are appropriately held accountable.”

Transocean and Cameron filed similar cross claims and counterclaims on Wednesday.

The claims against Transocean, BP said, “are consistent with the conclusions reached by the presidential commission, which found that Transocean missed critical signs that hydrocarbons were flowing up the riser and failed to take appropriate actions to shut in the Macondo well.”

Cameron, BP asserted, designed and built a faulty preventer and negligently maintained it.

Transocean responded with a statement calling BP’s suit “specious and unconscionable” and laid the blame squarely on BP as operator. 

BP also filed a lawsuit against Halliburton Co., claiming its "misconduct" contributed to last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster that led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Aside from BP, the main owner of the Macondo well, no company has faced more criticism over the disaster than Halliburton. It designed the failed cement seal that experts think allowed explosive gas to flow into the well and reach the Deepwater Horizon. Halliburton doesn't deny the seal failed, but argues BP should have run tests that would have revealed the problem.

In the filing, BP said its action was to hold Halliburton accountable for "improper conduct, errors and omissions, including fraud and concealment." In a statement, it said the President Commission that investigated the Gulf disaster concluded that the cement slurry designed, mixed and pumped by Halliburton failed, that the company didn't provide BP with the results of failed cement tests and that its technicians "missed critical signals that hydrocarbons were flowing into the wellbore."

Halliburton said it would "vigorously deny these claims."

The BP complaint said Transocean was responsible for multiple failures of safety devices and well control procedures. It said BP was seeking at least $40 billion in damages. BP also seeks to force Cameron to contribute all or part of the damages that could be levied against the oil giant by the federal government. (NYT, 4/20/2011, WSJ, 4/21/2011)

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