Thursday, July 22, 2010

BP: Intensified Sparring With Partners on Well Costs (APC; BP; RIG)

From the New York Times:
Newly released documents show intensified sparring over liability among the partners in the blown-out Gulf of Mexico well.

Three companies own the well: BP has a 65 percent share, the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation has 25 percent, and a subsidiary of the Mitsui Oil Exploration Corporation known as MOEX Offshore 2007 has 10 percent. Transocean was hired by BP to drill the well, but does not own a stake.

The joint operating agreement among the three companies states that their share of liability corresponds to the level of ownership. BP has billed the two smaller companies for their share of the billions of dollars it has spent so far, but the companies have declined to pay.

Newly released invoices sent by BP on July 2 demand $919,395,530.30 from Anadarko and $367,819,365.75 from MOEX, “due 30 days upon receipt.”

The documents were obtained by the Senate subcommittee on federal financial management. The panel will hold a hearing on Thursday with the chief executives of Anadarko and MOEX, as well as Kenneth R. Feinberg, who runs the $20 billion fund created by BP to pay spill-related claims.

In a letter to Senator Thomas R. Carper, Democrat of Delaware, who is chairman of the subcommittee, a lawyer for BP stated that the company even expected reimbursement “for their respective shares” of the $20 billion fund, though it was created through a private agreement between BP and the White House.
In a July 12 letter, MOEX told BP it was deferring payment “in light of the numerous investigations that are currently taking place to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident” and “the many pending lawsuits.”

Anadarko’s letter, dated July 7, referred to its earlier statements that BP might have engaged in “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct.” Those terms, if proved in arbitration or court, might allow Anadarko to escape liability....MORE
See also:
"Anadarko Petroleum Faces High Hurdle in Proving BP Was “Grossly Negligent”' (APC)
"Anadarko won't help pay for Gulf spill" (APC; BP)