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Will oil well partners help pay for spill?

An oil cleanup worker pulls along a plastic bag showing oily globs that he was picking up as he helps remove residue washing ashore from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in Gulfport, Miss.

TEXT OF STORY

Stacey Vanek-Smith: A federal appeals court denied the Obama administration's request to extend the 6 month moratorium on deep-water drilling. The president said extending the ban would help prevent another oil leak, but oil companies said the ban is too broad and that it would cost thousands of jobs.

Meanwhile, BP has said it will pay for the oil disaster in the Gulf and it's asking its partners to help -- Anadarko Petroleum and Mitsui Oil Exploration. The companies own about one-third of the destroyed well. And BP says that means they should pay one-third of the cost.

Krissy Clark has more.


Krissy Clark: The bills looks like your cell phone bill... kind of. Except the "amount due" is more than $270 million, and nine cents in the case of Anadarko. Matsui's tab is for another hundred million or so. The bills cover things like drilling relief wells, paying out claims for Gulf residents, and something called "intangible."

Joe Grundfest: They're not my clients, but I wouldn't rush to pay that check.

That's Joe Grundfest, a professor of business law at Stanford. So far, BP's partners will neither confirm nor deny whether they'll pay the bills. But Grundfest says there are two reasons why they probably won't.

First: They want a court to decide whether they're liable before they pay the tab.

Second: Not sharing the spill-related costs is one more way to distance themselves from BP, and protect the future of their industry. Grundfest says they're trying to send a message.

Grundfest: We should not shut down offshore drilling, rather we should make sure that no one drills the way BP drills because the other drillers know how to do it safely.

Payment on the bills is due early next week.

I'm Krissy Clark, for Marketplace.

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