BP, Halliburton and Transocean recently announced a series of tentative settlements related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, with BP resolving claims against the oil services providers and Transocean agreeing to pay $212 million to individuals and businesses harmed in the disaster. The deals effectively resolve all claims against the owner and operator of the offshore oil rig, Transocean, and Halliburton, the cement contractor for the blown-out Macondo well owned by BP.
Halliburton, which previously agreed to a $1 billion settlement to resolve private Plaintiffs’ claims against the company in connection with the oil spill, said that it reached an agreement with BP that requires the two companies to dismiss all claims against each other. Transocean has also reached a settlement with BP in which both companies would mutually release all claims made against the other. The company has agreed to dismiss all its personal injury claims on behalf of its employees and claims relating to future cleanup, in exchange for BP’s withdrawal of compensatory damages claims and attempts to recover damages under Transocean’s insurance policy, along with a payment of $125 million for legal fees incurred by Transocean.
Separately, Transocean has agreed to pay $212 million to resolve Plaintiffs’ claims against the company. Transocean said that under terms of the tentative settlement, it would pay two classes of Plaintiffs:
• the first is made up of class members in the pending litigation known as BP Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement; and
• the second is made up of a new class of parties who could potentially bring claims for punitive damages under maritime law.
Jeremy Thigpen, who serves as Transocean President and CEO, in a statement relating to the settlements, stated:
These settlements provide substantial closure to five years of litigation and we are confident that this agreement can be a significant step forward in our efforts to renew our partnership with BP.
BP and the U.S. Department of Justice are currently battling over how much BP will have to pay for the environmental cost of the spill. Judge Carl Barbier had already ruled that BP could be held liable for the disaster and in January capped any potential fine at $13.7 billion. The government is appealing that cap, arguing that its original request for an $18 billion maximum should be honored because Judge Barbier was wrong in determining that only 3.19 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico. The government estimates that 4.19 million barrels were released.
While those settlements mentioned above require court approval, they should help to assure that individuals and entities harmed by BP, Halliburton and Transocean are fully compensated for their losses caused by this disaster.
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