Thursday, July 22, 2010

BP’s Partners in Well Try to Distance Themselves

"BP’s partners in the blown-out Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico distanced themselves from the oil giant in a Senate subcommittee hearing on Thursday, though their arguments encountered a skeptical audience.

“Our view is that this accident was preventable,” said James T. Hackett, chief executive of the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, a part owner in the well.

The well is owned jointly by BP and its investment partners, Anadarko and a subsidiary of the Mitsui Oil Exploration Corporation known as MOEX Offshore 2007.

BP, listed in the contracts as the operator of the well, owns 65 percent; Anadarko owns 25 percent; MOEX, 10 percent. By the terms of the companies’ joint operating agreement, their legal liability for the well corresponds to their share of ownership.

The joint ownership is distinct from the legal relationships with the contractors involved in the drilling, like Transocean, the owner of the rig. Transocean and the other contractors argue that under their own operating agreements, BP has broadly shielded them from liability.

BP has already billed the partners more than $1 billion for their share of expenses so far, but the companies have declined to pay." More>>>>

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