Anadarko, a Texas-based oil and gas company, is evaluating its options following a ruling under which it needs to pay $159 million for its involvement in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill.
The penalty is substantially smaller than the $3.5 billion maximum penalty the company had been facing for the breach of the Clean Water Act, which prohibits the discharge of “harmful” quantities of oil into or upon covered waters of the outer continental shelf, making any entity involved in such breaches subject to a civil penalty.
Worth noting, the government had sought the penalty in the amount of more than $1 billion for the company which had a 25% stake in the BP-operated, disastrous Macondo project. Eleven men died in the April 20, 2010 blowout, and around 3.19 million barrels of oil were spilled in the ocean in the following months.
In a statement responding to the court’s ruling, Anadarko said: “We are pleased that this penalty is far less than the amount sought by the government. Today’s ruling clearly shows that the Court gave significant weight to its previous findings that as a non-operating investor in the Macondo Well, we had no role in the events that caused the tragic 2010 spill, and bear no fault.”
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on Monday, ruled that Anadarko was not culpable for the discharge, as the company was a minority shareholder in the project operated by BP.
In its ruling, the Court determined that Anadarko should pay $50 per barrel spilled, or $159 million.
“While we respect the Court’s decision, we continue to believe that penalizing a non-operator for events beyond its control is inconsistent with the intent of the Clean Water Act. We are carefully evaluating our appellate options. However, today’s ruling is significant because it removes the uncertainty about the extent of our potential Deepwater Horizon liability,” Anadarko said Monday.
Offshore Energy Today Staff