Judge Tosses Spill Claims Against BP Contractor

February 15, 2012

A judge has dismissed all of the federal court claims against a BP PLC contractor sued over a deadly rig explosion and the massive oil spill it spawned in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

None of the plaintiffs’ attorneys or other companies sued over the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster formally objected before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier on Friday dismissed the claims against Weatherford International Inc., a Swiss-based oilfield service company.

Barbier ruled there is no evidence that a Weatherford-made float collar used in BP’s blown-out well was defective or contributed to the cause of the April 20, 2010, blowout and subsequent spill. The device was designed to help contain the cement at the bottom of the well.

A trial involving claims against BP, rig owner Transocean and other companies is scheduled to start Feb. 27.

Cement contractor Halliburton Energy Services Inc. and another contractor, M-I LLC, had filed notices that they intended to oppose Weatherford’s request for the dismissal of claims. But the contractors withdrew those notices before Barbier ruled.

Last year, Weatherford agreed to pay BP $75 million to settle all potential claims between the two companies.

In exchange for the payment, BP agreed to cover Weatherford’s potential liability for compensatory claims related to the disaster, including those over environmental damage and economic losses. Civil and criminal fines and penalties and claims for punitive damages weren’t covered by the indemnity agreement.

Weatherford said the entire $75 million agreement was funded by insurance policies.

“Weatherford is firmly committed to safety and environmental stewardship,” the company said in a statement Monday. “In all of our operations, Weatherford’s most important objective is to pursue the highest possible standards to maximize our quality, health, safety and environmental performance.”

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