Judge says Transocean can’t blame U.S. for spill


Transocean Ltd. can’t blame the U.S. government for partial fault in the 2010 blowout of BP Plc’s Macondo Well in the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent oil spill, a judge said.

Transocean filed a claim against the U.S. in February, contending the incident may have been caused in part by the acts of federal agencies and government employees. Transocean was seeking a credit or offset on any prospective damages assessed against the company in the lawsuits.

“The U.S. has sovereign immunity here,” U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said today at a hearing in federal court in New Orleans in dismissing the claim.

U.S. lawyers argued that the government wasn’t liable for the spill. “It was at all times the responsibility of the private parties involved in the oil drilling venture to comply with federal safety regulations, including maintaining control of their well,” the U.S. said in a May response to Transocean’s claim.

The Macondo well blowout and the explosion that followed killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

The accident and spill led to hundreds of lawsuits against London-based BP and its partners and contractors including Transocean, the Switzerland-based owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded; Halliburton Co., which provided cementing services; Cameron International Corp., which provided blowout-prevention equipment; and BP’s minority partners in the well, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Mitsui & Co.’s Moex Offshore LLC unit.

5 Responses

  1. Syndley Whiplash says:

    According to the guilty, the fault for the offshore fiasco belongs entirely to everybody else.

  2. ntangle says:

    I never saw this claim as having a snowball’s chance. It sounded to me like a tactic…to generate a red herring (and billable hrs as well) more than a sincere claim.

  3. Tex says:

    The Transocean crew was totally unaware of the flowing well until close to the explosion.

    There are a lot of faults with the government and especially with this leftist administration. Blaming them for the blowout, however, is going a little too fare I think.

    Good try Transocean.

  4. RAP says:

    TransOcean needs to man up and admit they screwed up. They should be held responsible as operator of the rig regardless of anyone else. Before its all over they may be owned by someone else.

  5. Mike H. says:

    Blame the US for doing what to cause the spill? Are they trying to imply the US regulations are not strict enough? Transocean needs to take it’s own responsibility for it’s role in the blowout.