BP is preparing to sue its main partner in the leaking Gulf of Mexico oil field for its share of clean-up costs after the company, Anadarko, said BP’s behaviour revealed “gross negligence” and that the accident was preventable.
In a fundamental split between the two companies with lead responsibility for the well, a senor BP source told The Sunday Telegraph that Anadarko was “shirking its responsibilities”, not accepting its liabilities and that legal action in the US was now likely to follow.
Anadarko, which has a 25pc stake in the well, signalled this weekend that it will refuse to pay up.
BP has already sent the company one demand for payment but, the BP source said, had yet to receive any costs for the multi-billion dollar clean-up operation.
Jim Hackett, Anadarko’s chief executive, launched a damning attack on BP, the majority owner and operating partner, alleging there were signs of “gross negligence or wilful misconduct”.
“The mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that this tragedy was preventable and the direct result of BP’s reckless decisions and actions,” said Mr Hackett. “BP’s behaviour and action is likely represent gross negligence or wilful misconduct.”
Mitsui, the 10pc owner of the well, has made no decision on whether to admit liability for its share of costs, but is likely to join Anadarko in its refusal to contribute. BP could then also take legal action against that company as well.
The deepening row over costs followed a call from US Congressman Edward Markey, saying Anadarko and Mitsui should be held accountable and set aside money to pay a share of claims tied to the spill. “They cannot escape responsibility,” he said.
“Other parties besides BP may be responsible for costs and liabilities arising from the oil spill, and we expect those parties to live up to their obligations.”
Analysts are also getting restive about the uncertainty surrounding Anadarko and Mitsui because their involvement in paying claims would have a huge impact on BP’s financial position.
[Will Congress’ political theatre of this last week, a “show trial” called a “Congressional Hearing” conducted prior to the completion of any investigation, negatively affect the collection of damages from the responsible parties? Will Congress’ “rush to judgment” shelter at fault parties and prevent a full recovery of American damages? Will Congress’ rush to play the political CYA game, add insult to injury in the Gulf Coast?]