To Mark the Anniversary of the Oil Spill, BP Sues Halliburton [Updated]

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Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

On the one-year anniversary of your massive oil spill, what's the best way to say, "Hey now, we're not the only ones responsible for this?" In British Petroleum's case, they decided to spread the blame through a spate of lawsuits, filing claims yesterday against Halliburton, as well two other contractors—Transocean, the company that owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, and Cameron International, the company that manufactured the blowout preventer. (Not coincidentally, Wednesday marked the court-issued deadline to preserve the right to sue companies involved in the spill.) BP, which set aside $40.9 billion for costs related to the spill last year, is suing Transocean and Cameron for $40 billion in damages. The suit against Halliburton, which came slightly after, isn't attached to a particular sum. Rather a BP spokesman told the Wall Street Journal, the company "would ask for damages of up to the total cost of the spill."

In its filing alleging that Transocean and Cameron should help pay for billions in liabilities, BP said, "The Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer was unreasonably dangerous, and has caused and continues to cause harm, loss, injuries, and damages to BP (and others) stemming from the blowout of Macondo well" and resulting spill. But BP is well-aware that no other company has shared public criticism over the disaster like Halliburton, which designed the cement seal that failed to prevent explosive gas from flowing into the well to reach the Deepwater Horizon rig. In that case:

BP said its action was to hold Halliburton accountable for "improper conduct, errors and omissions, including fraud and concealment." In a statement, it said the President Commission that investigated the Gulf disaster concluded that the cement slurry designed, mixed and pumped by Halliburton failed, that the company didn't provide BP with the results of failed cement tests and that its technicians "missed critical signals that hydrocarbons were flowing into the wellbore."


Halliburton said it would "vigorously deny these claims," contributing to the growing genre of Google results for "Halliburton denies," which extends at least as far back as 2003.

BP sues Cameron and Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean [BBC]
BP Sues Halliburton Over Gulf Disaster [WSJ]