Monday, June 14, 2010

Anadarko's (NYSE:APC) Fuel Spill Containment Responsibilities

While so many people are focused on BP, Halliburton, and Transocean, many are forgetting about Anadarko's (NYSE:APC) fuel spill containment responsibilities.

Anadarko, who owns a 25 percent stake of the Macondo discovery, the site of the explosion and oil leak that followed, has lost 33 percent or 25 billion of market capitalization since April 20th. BP who is working in the field unlike Anadarko, has lost $69 billion or 37 percent. If Anadarko is required to foot their 25 percent of the bill, that would equal to $98 billion. While BP's share at 67 percent of the discovery puts their required cost at $106 billion.

Obviously, this is no where near what oil stock prices are reflecting, which is much less. BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research estimates the net value of present claims could run close to 11 billion total. What's completely uncertain is what the potential punitive damages will end up costing these oil companies. By looking at BP's share prices, it's expected to be extremely high.

The question is, will Anadarko also be held responsible and required to pay anything past the initial oil cleanup costs. Anadarko has stated their interest in Macondo did not come until well after drilling began. They're also maintaining they had no involvement in the operating procedures or in designing the well.

The American Association of Professional Landmen's Form 810 clearly states, all parties to the agreement usually bear liability for damages based on their stake except "when liability results from the gross negligence or willful misconduct" of one of the involved parties. So if BP ends up being found grossly negligent, it would open the door for Anadarko being able to contest paying any punitive damages.

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