BP, Cameron Settle Legal Issues Over Deepwater Horizon Incident

BP today announced that it has reached agreement with Cameron International Corporation (“Cameron”), the designer and manufacturer of the Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer, to settle all claims between the companies related to the Deepwater Horizon accident and spill. BP and Cameron have concluded that the settlement is in their mutual best interests, and the agreement is not an admission of liability by either party.

Under the settlement agreement, Cameron will pay BP $250 million. BP will immediately apply the payment to the $20 billion trust it established to meet individual, business and government claims, as well as the cost of the natural resource damages.

BP and Cameron have agreed to mutual releases of potential claims against each other, and BP has agreed to indemnify Cameron for compensatory claims resulting from the accident, including claims brought relating to pollution damage stemming from the accident or any damage to natural resources. BP’s indemnity excludes civil, criminal or administrative fines and penalties, claims for punitive damages, and certain other claims. BP and Cameron will discontinue claims against each other in the Multi-District Litigation pending in New Orleans.

“Today’s settlement allows BP and Cameron to put our legal issues behind us and move forward to improve drilling in the safety industry,” said Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive. “Cameron is the fourth company to settle with BP and contribute to economic and environmental restoration efforts in the Gulf. Unfortunately, other companies persist in refusing to accept responsibility for their roles in the accident and for contributing to restoration efforts.”

BP and Cameron each acknowledged that the Deepwater Horizon accident resulted from complex and interlinked causes involving multiple parties. They agreed that the entire industry can and should learn from the accident in order to improve safety in the drilling industry by developing, among other things, standard specifications for blowout preventers and other drill through equipment. BP and Cameron have committed to working together to improve processes and procedures, managerial systems, specifications and safety and best practices in offshore drilling operations. Both BP and Cameron will encourage other companies in the drilling industry to join them in this improvement and reform effort.

Today’s announcement follows settlements by BP with MOEX and Anadarko, BP’s partners in the Macondo well, and Weatherford, the maker of the float collar used at the well. From the outset, BP has committed to paying all legitimate claims and fulfilling its obligations to the Gulf communities under the Oil Pollution Act. To date, BP has paid out approximately $7.5 billion to individuals, businesses, and government entities.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, December 16, 2011;

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