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Thursday, April 21, 2011

One Year After Spill, BP Tries to Shift Blame from Itself

Oil Giant Claims Transocean Caused the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

One year after the worst oil spill in history, the responsible party commemorated the occasion by pointing the finger at the other companies involved. Yesterday, BP sued Transocean for over $40 billion, including punitive damages, trying to shift blame from itself onto Transocean and the other companies that operated the well.

BP also brought claims against Cameron International, the company that manufactured the faulty blowout preventer, Halliburton, the company that made the allegedly faulty cement casings, as well as other companies.

BP’s complaint against Transocean claimed that “The simple fact is that on April 20, 2010, every single safety system and device and well control procedure on the Deepwater Horizon failed, resulting in the casualty.” BP claimed that Transocean did not adequately maintain the rig, failed to fix engine problems, and failed to properly train the crew to deal with a fire on the rig. Yesterday was the deadline for bringing claims against Transocean under an order issued by the judge overseeing all lawsuits related to the oil spill.

Transocean filed a counter-lawsuit against BP, arguing that it failed to fulfill its contractual promise to indemnify (pay back) any damages Transocean incurred for personal injury and death lawsuits. Meanwhile, Halliburton has also filed lawsuits against BP, Transocean, and other companies, claiming that the explosion was caused by those companies, “and not by any conduct on the part of Halliburton Energy Services.”

In February, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier will oversee the first oil spill trial and determine whether Transocean can limit its liability. At that time, the court will likely also determine how much blame each of the companies involved bears for the disaster.

As the companies responsible for the oil spill pointed fingers and one another and positioned themselves to avoid as much responsibility as possible, the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down by the spill continue to wait for justice and wonder if they will ever be made whole.

Click here for more information about BP’s claims against the other companies.

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