NEW ORLEANS - (Mealey's) BP LLC announced Oct. 17 that it has reached a $4 billion settlement agreement with a company that held a 25 percent interest in the Gulf of Mexico oil drilling site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill (In re: Oil Spill By The Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" In the Gulf Of Mexico, On April 20, 2010, No. 10-2179, E.D. La.).
Under the settlement agreement, detailed in a press release, Anadarko Petroleum Co. will pay BP LLC $4 billion in a single cash payment, to be applied to the $20 billion trust it established to meet individual, business and government claims and the cost of natural resource damages caused by the oil spill. Anadarko also will transfer all of its 25 percent interest in the Macondo Prospect lease to BP.
In August 2010, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation assigned U.S. Judge Carl J. Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana to oversee MDL 2179, which consists of hundreds of consolidated cases with thousands of claimants. The cases involve the aftermath of the April 20, 2010, explosion, fire and capsizing of the Deepwater Horizon mobile offshore drilling unit in the Gulf of Mexico.
The explosion killed 11 workers on the rig, which eventually sank. Crude oil gushed from the site and into the Gulf until July 2010.
As part of the settlement, Anadarko will no longer pursue its allegations of gross negligence against BP LLC, and the companies have agreed to work cooperatively with regard to indemnified claims.
BP LLC also has agreed to indemnify Anadarko for certain claims arising from the accident. However, BP's indemnity excludes civil, criminal or administrative fines and penalties and claims for punitive damages.
Trial in MDL 2179 is set to commence in February.
[Editor's Note: Full coverage will be in the Oct. 24 issue of Mealey's Personal Injury Report. For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]
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