Deepwater Horizon: litigation frenzy

The Swiss-incorporated, Houston-based drilling contractor is caught in a litigation frenzy over claims related to the blowout of BP’s Macondo well on Apr. 20, 2010 involving British Petroleum; Halliburton (HAL), which did cement work; and several other companies, including Anadarko Petroleum (AAPC), one of the minority stakeholders in the well, and Cameron International (CAM), manufacturer of a critical piece of safety equipment known as the blowout preventer. They are wrestling over who will get stuck with tens of billions of dollars in environmental damages. Its June 22 investigative report alleged that BP used a risky well design, skimped on the heavy drilling mud needed to hold back high-pressure hydrocarbons, and kept changing its plans in a way that invited disaster. The British company revised its plans for temporarily sealing Macondo five times in the two weeks preceding the blowout, according to Transocean. The fateful changes “were driven by BP’s knowledge that the geological window for safe drilling was becoming increasingly narrow.”
Lloyd’s of London may cover BP’s “excess liability” in cleanup and other costs. under its Transocean contract affording protection to pollution “originating above the surface of the land or water.”


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