Court deadline prompts flurry of Macondo claims, counterclaims

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Apr. 21 -- A court-imposed Apr. 20 deadline in a New Orleans federal court prompted a flurry of claims and counterclaims as BP PLC filed litigation against Transocean Ltd., Halliburton Corp., and Cameron International Corp. regarding the Apr. 20, 2010, blowout of the deepwater Macondo well.

The litigation was filed with the Eastern District of Louisiana US District Court on the first anniversary of the blowout, which resulted in a fire and explosion on Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible. Macondo, operated by BP, was on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in 5,000 ft of water.

Eleven crew members were killed, and a massive oil spill resulted in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon sank on Apr. 22, 2010. Oil spill response teams installed a temporary cap halting the flow of oil from Macondo on July 15, and the well was permanently sealed in September.

Halliburton provided cement and mud logging services for the Macondo well. Cameron manufactured the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer.

Much of the litigation refers to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which requires the US government to document the environmental damage caused by an oil spill. This documentation is used to help determine which company or companies pay damages. A long-running court battle is anticipated.

In a statement to the media, BP said, “Halliburton’s misconduct contributed to the accident and spill.”

BP’s statement cited the Presidential Commission that investigated the accident as saying that the cement slurry failed. BP’s lawsuit said Halliburton concealed from BP “material facts” about the cement slurry.

BP said controversy exists between itself and Halliburton regarding Halliburton’s liability to BP for any monetary recovery. BP’s lawsuit against Halliburton specified no damage amount. During 2010, BP set aside $40.9 billion for spill-related expenses.

In an e-mail to OGJ, Halliburton said it “remains confident that we executed our work on the Macondo well under BP’s direction and according to their plan.” It said, “The claims we have filed against BP confirm that we are seeking simply to enforce the indemnity BP provided to Halliburton in our contract with them.”

A Halliburton spokeswoman said the claims, counterclaims, and lawsuits filed among all parties involved with Macondo were expected “in order to preserve their options in the ongoing litigation.”

Transocean issued a news release saying it sought to enforce its indemnification rights under a drilling contract with BP.

“BP has agreed, among other things, to assume full responsibility for and defend, release, and indemnify Transocean from any loss, expense, claim, fine, penalty or liability for pollution or contamination, including control and removal thereof, arising out of or connected with operations under the contract. Transocean expects BP to honor its contractual indemnification obligations under the contract.”

In court documents, BP said Transocean failed to properly monitor the well and “failed to recognize that a kick was in progress.” BP also questioned Transocean’s protocols regarding how to respond to a loss of well control.

“Transocean’s crew used the wrong equipment at the wrong times to attempt to control the blowout,” BP said.

Regarding the Deepwater Horizon’s BOP, BP said Cameron designed and produced “an unreasonably dangerous BOP.” BP also accused Cameron of negligent conduct in the BOP’s maintenance.

A spokeswoman for Cameron said the lawsuits and counterclaims were expected.

“It is not surprising that the companies are filing to protect their indemnity rights (except in the case of BP) and whatever claims they believe they have. Additionally, in order to protect ourselves, we, too, have filed cross-claims and counterclaims, including our indemnity claims, against other parties to the litigation,” she said on behalf of Cameron.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

PHMSA proposes pipeline accident notification regulations

07/02/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new federal oil and gas pipeline accident and notification regulations. ...

FourPoint Energy to acquire Anadarko basin assets from Chesapeake

07/02/2015 FourPoint Energy LLC, a privately owned Denver company, plans to acquire oil and gas assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiaries Chesapeake Ex...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices plummet on crude inventory build, Iran deadline extension

07/02/2015 Oil prices plummeted more than $2/bbl July 1 to settle at a 2-month low on the New York market after a weekly government report showed the first ri...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

When Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

When Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected