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Transocean: BP holding back rig data

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: For those along the U.S. Gulf coast seeking payment from British oil giant BP’s $20 billion compensation fund, the New York Times reports today they’ll have to waive their rights to sue. But not just BP. Any of the major defendants involved with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Meanwhile, BP insists that it is not hiding any information about the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf. The British oil giant today responded to accusations by the offshore oil rig’s actual owner, this is a company named Transocean.

From London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.

STEPHEN BEARD: Transocean makes the claim in a letter sent to the Obama administration. The letter claims that BP is refusing to reveal even the most basic information about the disaster. Transocean wants 16 specific pieces of data. Among them — a chart identifying BP personnel involved with the rig.

BP — which could have to pay out tens of billions of dollars in legal claims — dismissed Transocean’s letter as a publicity stunt. The company said it was designed to deflect attention away from Trannsocean’s responsibility.

Nick McGregor is an oil analyst with brokers Redmayne Bentley. He says this spat is all part of pre-trial maneuvering.

NICK MCGREGOR: I think we’re now seeing an awful lot of parties jockeying for position to basically lay out where they stand in the endless years of litigation that are likely to follow. And the sums involved are not small, so they all have an awful lot to gain or lose.

Transocean itself is facing 249 lawsuits, which could add up to hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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