BP has filed lawsuits against the maker of the failed blowout preventer on the Macondo well, the operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, and the well’s cement contractor, saying they were largely to blame for the accident one year ago that killed 11 and spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
In the lawsuits filed Wednesday in federal court in New Orleans, BP alleges Cameron’s 50-foot-tall, 300-ton blow out preventer had an inferior design and was poorly maintained.
Cameron “did not meet the standards of a reasonable manufacturer and service provider,” BP said Wednesday in the filing in a New Orleans federal court. BP is seeking damages from Cameron for providing a product it says was defective, as well for claims against BP under the Oil Pollution Act.
In the case of Transocean BP says the company failed “to properly operate the Deepwater Horizon,” including failing to properly inspect equipment, asses the risk of equipment failure and “Negligently hiring, retaining and/or training personnel.”
**Updated: BP filed suit against cement contractor Halliburton late Wednesday night, alleging fraud, negligence and concealing material facts in connection with its work on the rig.
“BP’s claims are consistent with the conclusions reached by the Presidential Commission, which found that the cement slurry designed, mixed and pumped by Halliburton failed, that Halliburton did not provide BP with the results of failed cement tests, and that mudloggers who worked for the company’s Sperry Drilling unit missed critical signals that hydrocarbons were flowing into the wellbore,” BP said in a statement. “The record is clear that Halliburton’s misconduct contributed to the accident and spill, and BP has filed this action to preserve its legal rights.”
The statement noted how Halliburton has given limited cooperation to different investigative panels.
“BP continues to review its ongoing business relationship with Halliburton,” the company said. **
Many parties involved in the case have filed suit against one another in the last few days in order to reserve their rights to make certain claims under several statutory deadlines that expired Wednesday — the one-year anniversary of the disaster.
Given the deadlines, a spokeswoman for Cameron said the filing “is not surprising.”
“Additionally, in order to protect ourselves, we, too, have filed crossclaims and counterclaims, including our indemnity claims, against other parties to the litigation,” she said in an e-mailed statement.
The blowout preventer had two control pods with redundant systems. A solenoid intended to activate a “deadman” switch in one of the pods if the blowout preventer lost contact with the rig failed when it was tested after the device was brought back to the surface. A battery in the second pod was found to be too weak to activate the deadman function.
A forensic examination of the BOP once it was brought to the surface also concluded the shearing rams in the device failed to cut all the way through a section of drill pipe, leaving a small area for oil and gas to continue to flow.