Gulf Oil Spill -Who Will Pay?

January 5, 2012  |  Environmental

Despite the desperate need for companies harmed by the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill to receive remuneration, the financial fight over which companies will pay for the Gulf Spill mess lingers.

Cleaning up the spill, the largest in United States history, is expected to cost about $42 billion, and the finger pointing is worthy of a sum that large.

In its latest move, London-based BP has asked a court to force its cement contractor, Halliburton, to help pay its share, claiming that Halliburton provided shoddy workmanship in capping the well with cement prior to the blowout.

Not surprisingly, Halliburton attorneys responded by reminding BP of a contract between the two companies that limits Halliburton’s liability against possible cleanup costs.

The “he did, she did” antics began almost immediately after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010, and continue today, with hearings set to begin in New Orleans federal court Feb. 27.

A federal report released last fall clearly placed the blame for the blowout on several companies, including BP, which owned the well; Halliburton, for failing in its effort to divert portions of the well with cement; Transocean, which owned the rig; and Cameron International, which manufactured the blowout preventer. Yet deciding responsibility did not lead to a smooth financial resolution.

The court is expected to decide which party will compensate those affected by the spill and which companies should be held liable for the explosion that killed 11 workers and unleashed 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

In the meantime the responsible companies face billions of dollars more in Clean Water Act fines and civil claims, but the injured companies and residents face an even longer wait.

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