BP moves to squeeze Halliburton on spill
BP did on specify the amount of damages it is seeking from Halliburton, but it previously estimated the clean-up would cost $US42 billion. Photo: Reuters
BP HAS handed the bill for clearing up the disastrous 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to Halliburton, the US contractor it claims botched the cement work on the failed rig.
BP has filed a suit in New Orleans seeking ''the amount of costs and expenses incurred by BP to clean up and remediate the oil spill, the lost profits from and/or diminution in value of the Macondo prospect, and all other costs and damages incurred by BP related to the Deepwater Horizon incident and resulting oil spill''.
BP did not specify the amount of damages it is seeking from Halliburton, which provided cement contracting services on the well. But it previously estimated the clean-up would cost $US42 billion. It has spent $US14 billion in the Gulf coast region cleaning up the spill, with another $US20 billion set aside for economic claims and restoration work.
A Halliburton spokeswoman said: ''Halliburton stands firm that we are indemnified by BP against losses resulting from the Macondo incident.''
This is the latest salvo in a continuing battle between the former partners. Halliburton had asked a court to force BP to recognise a contractual agreement protecting it against possible clean-up costs. Then last month BP alleged that Halliburton had destroyed evidence on cement testing and violated court orders by not producing ''inexplicably missing'' computer modelling results.
Halliburton said BP had known about these post-incident tests for some time and had ''chosen this late date in the litigation to mischaracterise the results of such tests''.
The explosion at Deepwater Horizon led to 11 deaths and the worst oil spill in US history, when more than 750,000 cubic metres of oil was released into the Gulf. It has also sparked a series of lawsuits and federal investigations into the companies involved.
Last month BP reached a $US250 million settlement with Cameron International, the designer and manufacturer of the rig's failed blowout preventer, ending all claims between the two relating to the spill.
BP has also reached agreements with other companies involved in the rig including Anadarko and Weatherford. But agreements with Halliburton and Transocean, which operated the rig, have proved harder to achieve, with both parties launching lawsuits.
Last year Transocean issued a 854-page report on the Deepwater disaster that largely blamed BP for ''a succession of interrelated well design, construction and temporary abandonment decisions that compromised the integrity of the well and compounded the risk of failure''.
The US Justice Department is also believed to be preparing possible criminal charges against BP engineers.