US launches lawsuit against BP

A lawsuit has been filled against BP for damages following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in US history.

The explosion at the offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico claimed 11 lives and unleashed the massive oil spill which took more than three months to contain.

The lawsuit includes nine defendants and charges them with violations of federal safety and operational regulations.

The companies are: BP Exploration and Production Inc.;Anadarko Exploration & Production LP; Anadarko Petroleum Corporation; MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC; Triton Asset Leasing GMBH; Transocean Holdings LLC; Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc.; Transocean Deepwater Inc.; and QBE Underwriting Ltd./Lloyd’s Syndicate 1036.

The lawsuit is claiming clean up costs and damages without limitation. Some have put the likely figure at $40 billion.

The charges cited by the include the failure to take necessary precautions to secure the Macondo Well prior to the April 20th explosion; failure to utilize the safest drilling technology to monitor the well’s condition; failure to maintain continuous surveillance of the well; and failure to utilize and maintain equipment and materials that were available and necessary to ensure the safety and protection of personnel, property, natural resources, and the environment.

US attorney general Eric Holder said: “We intend to prove that these defendants are responsible for government removal costs, economic losses and environmental damages without limitation”.

Although Haliburton, the company that cemented the well has not been charged, the justice department said that other defendants may be added to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is likely to take years to resolve and other class-action lawsuits are sure to follow.

Alison Brown

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