Saturday, June 19, 2010

Battle Brewing Between BP (NYSE:BP), Partners?

If the comments by Anadarko (NYSE:APC) CEO James Hackett are an indicator of things to come, the oil spill, largely attributed to BP (NYSE:BP) at this time, could expand liability to the other oil companies related to it, as Cameron International (NYSE:CAM), Transocean (NYSE:RIG) and Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) all have potential claims they may have to help pay for, and that seems to be what BP is pushing for at this time.

While their "partners" have helped point the finger at BP, with some increasingly becoming vocal in that regard, there is a slow recalling of the fact that BP wasn't in this alone, and BP is pushing for these companies to pay for their share in the claims related to the accident, which could result in an all-out war between the companies if the rhetoric level is raised too high publicly, as there are billions at stake, and BP is hoping to pass a portion of that onto the other oil companies.

Anadarko is becoming much louder and involved, as they're probably the most potentially liable of BP's partners, as they held a 25 percent stake in the project.

One thing all the other oil companies have protecting them is the information coming out which seems to implicate BP as being lax in their oversight of the project, which could help those companies in the long run.

The problem is though, what cause the accident hasn't been determined yet, and if it was a combination of factors, each of these partners with BP could end up being liable for a lot of the accident if they played a part in it, for example, the blowout preventer built by Cameron International, or the cementing job performed by Halliburton.

On Anadarko's part, they made what seems to be a preemptive strike against how much they may be liable, as James Hackett, chief executive of Anadarko Petroleum, said on Friday that "The mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that this tragedy was preventable and the direct result of BP's reckless decisions and actions."

If all of this ends up going to the courts, it'll be interesting to see whether or not BP would be forced to continue making payments if there is the possibility the other oil companies could be held liable as well.

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