BP Plc has settled with oilfield services provider Halliburton Co and contract driller Transocean Ltd cross claims related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst offshore disaster in U.S. history. BP still faces a potential fine of up to $13.7 billion under the U.S. Clean Water Act. Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig, had settled its Clean Water Act liability for $1 billion.
The U.S. government never sued Halliburton under the Act, one person familiar with the case said. “We have now settled all matters relating to the accident with both our partners in the well and our contractors,” BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said in an email. Transocean said BP would pay the company $125 million in compensation for legal fees it incurred, adding the companies will mutually release all claims against each other.
The company added BP will also discontinue its attempts to recover as an “additional insured” under Transocean’s liability policies that will accelerate the company’s recovery of about $538 million in insurance claims. Transocean also said it would pay about $212 million to a fund set up to pay out claims to people and businesses harmed by the spill, subject to the approval by U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
“We applaud Transocean for adding to the settlement funds established in the Halliburton settlement to help compensate people and businesses for their losses,” said co-lead plaintiffs’ attorneys, Stephen Herman and James Roy. Transocean said it intends to make the payments using cash on hand. In September, a U.S. judge ruled that BP was mostly at fault and that Transocean and Halliburton were not as much to blame.
Halliburton, which did the cementing work for BP’s well, had earlier blamed BP’s decision to use only six centralizers for the blowout that spilled millions of barrels of oil for 87 days. Halliburton said in September that it reached a $1.1 billion settlement for a majority of claims related to its role in the oil spill. London-based BP has already taken $43.8 billion in pretax charges for clean-up and other costs.