Deepwater Horizon: Mitsui settles with BP

Mitsui had accepted "the findings by the Presidential Commission into the lethal Macondo blowout that the accident was the result of a number of separate risk factors" although not in proportion to the $37.8 billion before tax charge that BP had put aside for the Gulf of Mexico. With its 10% stake, that would have been close to $4 billion, but as one of its Gulf of Mexico drilling partners agreed to pay $1.1 billion.

Still, analysts expect Anadarko - which owned 25% of the Macondo license - to come under pressure to settle with BP soon. If it settled on the same basis as Moex, Andarko would pay the oil giant nearly $2.7 billion. Moex, part of Japanese commodities trader Mitsui, which owned 10% of the ill-fated Macondo well, agreed to contribute toward the costs of the $41 billion disaster. Anadarko Petroleum, has a 25 percent stake in the project, and its joint operating agreement with BP gives it a 25 percent share of the liability. . Geneva-based Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon, which was leased to BP PLC to drill its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.

In connection with the oil spill incident that occurred on April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico on the exploratory block designated Mississippi Canyon 252, last year Transocean and certain of its affiliates (collectively, "Transocean"), the owner and operator of the rig, filed a limitation action based on maritime law in an effort to limit its liability (the "Limitation Action"), and in the Limitation Action, on February 18, 2011, Transocean tendered MOECO, MOEX USA Corporation (a 100% subsidiary of MOECO, "MOEX USA") and MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC (a 100% subsidiary of MOEX USA, "MOEX Offshore"), which owns a 10% working interest in the lease for the relevant block.

On April 19, 20 and 21, 2011, Transocean and the defendants in the Limitation Action filed cross-claims primarily seeking contribution and indemnification from one another, and as a result MOECO, MOEX USA and MOEX Offshore were served with cross-claims by Cameron International Corporation, Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. and Transocean. MOEX Offshore filed cross-claims against BP Exploration and Production, Inc. ("BP"), Transocean, Halliburton, Cameron, M-I LLC and Weatherford U.S. L.P. and certain of their affiliates, asserting that they should bear the responsibility, whether in whole or in part, for the alleged damages and seeking contribution and indemnification.

On April 4, 2011, BP sent a Notice of Dispute to its business partners, MOEX Offshore and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, based on the Operating Agreement entered into by such parties. The Notice of Dispute states that as of February 28, 2011, BP's invoices to MOEX Offshore totaled approximately U.S. $1,856,000,000. In addition, MOEX Offshore has received invoices from BP after that date. The most recent invoice, dated April 5, 2011, states that MOEX Offshore's payment obligation totals approximately U.S. $2,067,000,000. MOEX Offshore expects to receive additional invoices from BP, but it expects to continue to withhold payment given that at the present time it is uncertain whether there will be an obligation to pay. Based on the Operating Agreement, the parties must designate a representative to meet and confer in an effort to resolve the claim made in the Notice of Dispute. MOEX Offshore has designated a representative. Notably, on April 27, 2011, BP filed a motion to stay MOEX Offshore's cross-claims in the Limitation Action referenced above based on the arbitration clause in the Operating Agreement.
Cameron, BP asserted, designed and built a faulty preventer and negligently maintained it.

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