BP, Chevron Losing Oil Spill Battles

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By 2015, the global crude oil market is predicted to value $2.7 billion. (Photo: Geri-Jean Blanchard)
By 2015, the global crude oil market is predicted to value $2.7 billion. (Photo: Geri-Jean Blanchard)


  • BP denied right to collect payment from Transocean to help fund $40 billion needed to clean up Gulf Oil spill 
  • BP required to indemnify Transocean for compensatory damages 
  • Chevron fined $50 million, drilling license suspended due to recent oil spill in Brazil

A US district court judge has ruled that BP Plc cannot collect funds from Swiss-based offshore drilling contractor Transocean Ltd. as reimbursement for billions used to clean up the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP filed a lawsuit in April 2011 alleging Transocean was responsible for paying part of the $40 billion needed for clean up and economic losses.

Judge Carl Barbier wrote in his 30-page decision: “BP is required to indemnify Transocean for compensatory damages asserted by third parties against Transocean related to pollution that did not originate on or above the surface of the water, even if the claim is the result of Transocean’s strict liability.”

The ruling, however, does not leave Transocean free of blame. Barbier said BP will not be responsible for punitive damages against Transocean or for any penalties under the Clean Water Act.

In an email statement Transocean said it was pleased with the decision. Transocean has admitted some responsibility for the oil spill, but only in terms of equipment loss and paying death and injury claims. In April 2010, an explosion on Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig lead to the drill’s sinking and the worst oil spill in US history. Eleven oil drill workers were killed.

Brazil To File Charges Against Chevron

In response to an oil spill off the coast of Brazil, a Brazilian prosecutor plans to file criminal charges against Chevron Corp. Transocean is also expected to face charges.

Chevron is already facing a $11 billion civil lawsuit for the spill, which took place on November 7, 2011. The Transocean drill Chevron was using to drill off of Rio de Janeiro experienced high pressure and emergency measures were put in place to plug the well. Several days later it was discovered oil was seeping from the seafloor.

Prosecutors claim Chevron knew it was drilling in a high pressure area, though Chevron denies any wrong doing.

ANP, Brazil’s oil regulator, has suspended Chevron’s drilling license. Brazil’s environmental protection agency and ANP fined Chevron $50 million.

Oil continues to leak from the seafloor on an average of 1.4 liters a day. The oil is being captured in undersea traps.

Key Statistics - World Crude Oil Market (source: MarketLine)

  • In 2010, the global crude oil market grew almost 32%, reaching over $2 billion in value.
  • By 2015, the global crude oil market is predicted to be worth $2.7 billion, marking an increase of over 27% on 2010.
  • In 2010, the global crude oil market grew nearly 2% and reached a volume of 27 billion barrels.
  • By 2015, the global crude oil market is predicted to reach a volume of 30.5 billion barrels. This is an increase of over 13% on 2010.
  • Globally, North and South America represent nearly 37% of the crude oil market.

By Melina Druga for
Melina Druga is an American writer and editor. She is the author of Enterprising Women: Practical Advice for First Time Entrepreneurs.

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