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Marketplace Morning Report
BP oil spill: The legacy

BP seeks to blame Halliburton for oil spill

Stephen Beard Jan 3, 2012
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Steve Chiotakis: British oil giant BP has filed court papers demanding the Houston-based firm Halliburton pay billions of dollars in clean-up and compensation costs for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Four million gallons of oil leaked into the gulf, after a blowout on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard is live with us from London. He has the latest on that story. Hey Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Hello Steve.

Chiotakis: Why does BP say Halliburton should be responsible for this leak?

Beard: Well, Halliburton did the cement work on the well, and it’s been alleged that the cement job was defective; it may have contributed to, and perhaps even caused, the disaster.

Chiotakis: Now, how much does BP want them to pay?

Beard: BP isn’t saying in it’s court filing in New York — it doesn’t put a precise figure on its claim. But it’s already spent $14 billion responding to the spill — that’s on containment, clean up, and some compenstaion — and set it’s aside a further $20 billion for future costs. It obviously would like some help with that huge financial burden.

But Nick McGregor, an oil analyst with stockbrokers Redmayne-Bentley, says BP’s court action isn’t only about money — it’s also about sharing the blame for America’s worst oil spill.

Nick McGregor: It’s about the view BP has taken all along that this was a variety of failings by a variety of companies. A judgement against Halliburton would vindicate that view that BP were not the sole responsible party.

Last month, the company that made the blowout preventer on the wellhead agreed to pay BP $250 million in damages. And BP’s also taking legal action against Transocean, the company that owned operated the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Chiotakis: Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reporting from London. Stephen thank you.

Beard: OK Steve.

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