BP Sues Halliburton for Full Cost of Gulf Disaster

BP has spent more than $40 billion on the disaster and could still be liable for billions in fines, compensation and restoration costs.

BP is pushing energy services firm Halliburton to pay for all the costs BP incurred in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. In a US federal court filing, BP said that it was seeking full repayment of damages from Halliburton, alleging it fraudulently putting a defective cement seal on a deepwater well, causing a deadly explosion and pollution of the Gulf and neighboring states.

BP filed suit on Jan. 2 with the district court in New Orleans seeking damages from Halliburton including "the amount of costs and expenses incurred by BP to clean up and remediate the oil spill" and "all other costs and damages incurred by BP" related to the Deepwater Horizon rig blowout and resulting oil spill.

The latest court filing marked an expansion of the scope of BP's April 2010 lawsuit, in which the British company had sought reimbursement from Halliburton "for all or a part of the damages, costs and expenses."

BP has spent more than $40 billion on the disaster and could still be liable for billions in fines, compensation and restoration costs.

A BP spokesman declined to comment on the case.

In October the U.S. government slapped BP, Transocean -- the Swiss owner and operator of the drilling rig -- and Halliburton with citations for violating oil industry regulations in what is expected to lead to massive fines.

Last week The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. prosecutors are readying criminal charges against BP employees, which would be the first criminal charges over the disaster.

The explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20, 2010, killed 11 people, and the Macondo well gushed oil into the ocean for 87 days, blackening the southern US shoreline and crippling the local tourism and fishing sectors. By the time the well was capped, 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil had spilled out of the runaway well 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

BP alleges that Halliburton used defoaming and dispersant additives that should not be used with foamed cement slurry it used to seal the bottom of the Macondo well, and the contractor failed to inform BP of problems with the slurry, both before and after the incident.

"Halliburton's knowing misrepresentations were a cause-in-fact and also a legal cause of BP's injuries," the British firm said in its April lawsuit.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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