OIL supermajor BP will not pursue any legal action against Cameron International over last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster after the firms agreed that the contractor would pay a £161million settlement.
The companies said they would drop any claims against each other after the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, which killed 11 men and spilled nearly 5million barrels of oil into the sea.
Cameron said its insurers would pay at least £109million of the settlement, while BP said the money would be added to the £13billion trust it established to pay for legal costs and the clean-up.
The companies said the settlement was not an admission of liability.
Cameron built the blowout preventer (BOP) at the Macondo well. Investigations carried out after the catastrophe found fault with the performance and design of the device.
In the aftermath of the incident, BP filed a lawsuit against Cameron and alleged the contractor had provided a BOP with a faulty design.
Yesterday, BP chief executive Bob Dudley said: “Today’s settlement allows BP and Cameron to put our legal issues behind us and move forward to improve safety in the drilling industry.
“Cameron is the fourth company to settle with BP and contribute to economic and environmental restoration efforts in the gulf.
“Unfortunately, other companies persist in refusing to accept responsibility for their roles in the accident and for contributing to restoration efforts.”
BP has previously agreed a £2.5billion settlement with Anadarko, which held a 25% stake in the Macondo well, and received about £677million from MOEX Offshore, a US subsidiary of Mitsui Oil Exploration Company, which had a 10% interest.
Weatherford International also paid BP £46.3million towards clean-up and other costs in exchange for indemnity against economic claims from people affected by the spill and environmental damage.
BP is still in a legal battle with Halliburton after accusing the contractor of damaging evidence about the quality of cement it used at the Macondo well. Meanwhile Transocean, which operated the Deepwater Horizon rig, is being sued by the operator for at least £24.5billion for its alleged part in the accident.
BP’s settlement with Cameron comes in advance of a US federal trial over the oil spill. The non-jury trial is due to begin in February and determine who was at fault for the incident.