BP sues Gulf oil spill contractors a year after disaster
BP has filed a lawsuit against rig operator Transocean for $40 billion in damages over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in a legal fightback by the group a year after the disaster.
The British firm, the target of blame during the crisis, filed suit against Swiss-based Transocean on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of the start of the biggest maritime oil spill in history, and also against oil services giant Halliburton and parts manufacturer Cameron.
Transocean operated the Deepwater Horizon rig which was hit by an explosion on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and sparking the environmental disaster.
At one point during the crisis, the future of BP as a group appeared to be at risk from the potential long-term costs.
"But for Transocean's improper conduct, errors, omissions, and violations of maritime law, there would not have been any blowout of the exploratory well," a court filing from BP argued.
"Nor, but for Transocean's misconduct, would there have been any explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon, or any deaths and personal injuries, or an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."
The documents, filed in a New Orleans court, added that BP was seeking "at least $40 billion (27 billion euros, £24 billion) in damages and contribution from Transocean."
Solemn ceremonies took place in the US on Wednesday a year on from the start of the environmental catastrophe.
It took 87 days to cap the well, by which time 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil had gushed out of the well deep below the surface of the Gulf.
In a separate statement, BP said it had "filed suit against Halliburton in order to hold the company accountable for its critical role in the Deepwater Horizon accident."
Halliburton mixed the cement that cemented the blown-out well in the accident.
BP said that Halliburton had not provided it with the results of failed cement tests and company employees "missed critical signals that hydrocarbons were flowing into the wellbore."
On Cameron, BP said it that was suing the parts manufacturer over its design of the blowout preventer on the Macondo well.
"BP has sued Cameron for its faulty design and manufacture of the blowout preventer (BOP), and its negligence in the maintenance and modification of the BOP," said BP.
It was "a critical safety device that failed to prevent the blowout of the Macondo well," added the energy giant.
© 2011 AFP