Canadian Underwriter

U.S. launches civil lawsuit against BP, QBE Underwriting and seven other parties for Gulf Coast oil spill

December 16, 2010   by Canadian Underwriter

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The U.S. government has launched a civil lawsuit against BP, QBE Underwriting Ltd. and seven other parties it deems responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Apr. 20, 2010.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder did not say in his Dec. 15 announcement how much the civil action was worth.
The defendants named in the lawsuit include:

  • BP Exploration and Production Inc.;
  • Anadarko Exploration & Production LP;
  • Anadarko Petroleum Corporation;
  • MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC;
  • Triton Asset Leasing GMBH;
  • Transocean Holdings LLC;
  • Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc.;
  • Transocean Deepwater Inc.; and
  • QBE Underwriting Ltd./Lloyd’s Syndicate 1036.

In the complaint, the United States alleges violations of federal safety and operational regulations, including:

  • failure to take necessary precautions to secure the Macondo Well prior to the Apr. 20 explosion;
  • failure to use the safest drilling technology to monitor the well’s condition;
  • failure to maintain continuous surveillance of the well; and
  • failure to use and maintain equipment and materials that were available and necessary to ensure the safety and protection of personnel, property, natural resources and the environment.

“We intend to prove that these violations caused or contributed to this massive oil spill, and that the defendants are therefore responsible – under the Oil Pollution Act – for government removal costs, economic losses and environmental damages,” Holder said in a statement announcing the action.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, BP said the filing of the lawsuit “is solely a statement of the government’s allegations and does not in any manner constitute any finding of liability or any judicial finding that the allegations have merit.
“BP will answer the government’s allegations in a timely manner and will continue to cooperate with all government investigations and inquiries. Alone among the parties, BP has stepped up to pay for the clean-up of the oil, setting aside $20 billion to pay all legitimate claims. We took these steps before any legal determination of responsibility and will continue to fulfill our commitments in the Gulf as the legal process unfolds.”

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