Texas company’s lawsuit accuses BP of breaking spill cleanup contract

HOUSTON – Fluor Corp. is suing BP over millions of dollars in workers’ compensation claims related to cleanup efforts after the Gulf oil spill in 2010.

Fluor says BP has violated a contractual agreement by failing to repay litigation costs that Fluor incurred from the claims. A subsidiary of the Irving, Texas-based engineering firm agreed to help BP clean up the oil-polluted Gulf of Mexico in 2010 by training unemployed Florida and Alabama residents to restore the beaches, along with other services. Its condition: That BP agree to protect it against legal costs, Fluor said in court documents filed in a Harris County district court Friday.

Fluor said several Deepwater Horizon-related claims and lawsuits have already been filed against its then-logistics and personnel support unit, Plant Performance Services, but BP refuses to honor the contract and compensate the unit for the legal troubles. Fluor sold Plant Performance Services to Fuel Streamers Group in June 2011.

The company didn’t specify how much in damages it is seeking.

Attorneys representing Fluor in the case did not respond to requests for comment. BP officials also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Fluor said it entered the contract with BP on May 5, 2010, but BP canceled the beach cleanup project before some workers expected to be let go. Hundreds of former employees have filed lawsuits against Fluor, Plant Performance Services and BP subsidiaries for misrepresenting how long the work would last and exposing them to hazardous materials.

BP, Fluor claims, has an obligation to protect it from the claims but has refused.

The company said in the lawsuit it has already paid $2.1 million in claims and is seeking compensation for all past, present and future workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. It’s unclear how much in damages will ultimately be claimed by former workers.

BP has spent more than $14 billion and 70 million man hours cleaning up crude from the Gulf Coast. It faces up to $18 billion in environmental fines expected to be determined in a civil suit next year.