BP reaches $1B settlement with Mitsui/MOEX over Gulf spill

One of BP’s partners in the failed Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico has agreed to pay BP $1.065 billion to cover its portion of cleanup costs and other liabilities related to the accident.

MOEX Offshore 2007, an affiliate of Japanese conglomerate Mitsui and a 10 percent partner in the well, “has joined BP in recognising and acknowledging the findings by the Presidential Commission that the accident was the result of a number of separate risk factors, oversights and outright mistakes by multiple parties and a number of causes,” BP said in a statement

BP said the money will be applied to the $20 billion trust it established to meet individual, business and government claims, as well as the cost of cleanup and restoration.

In a note to investors, research firm Jefferies says the settlement may be a sign BP is close to settling the major legal disputes surrounding the Gulf spill.

“Although this is only 50% of what BP could claim it is fully entitled to at present, it does suggest that BP is getting closer to settling the entire legal process,” the Jefferies note said. “If this does transpire, it should free up BP to re-enter the Gulf of Mexico, where c. 40% of its global growth prospects lie.”

All eyes will now be on reaching a similar settlement with The Woodlands-based Anadarko Petroleum — which has a 25 percent stake in Macondo — Jefferies said.

The settlement excludes civil and criminal fines, including those that BP is likely to face under the Clean Water Act.

BP has estimated the cost of capping the well, cleaning up and compensating those affected to be more than $41 billion.

“This settlement is an important step forward for BP and the Gulf communities,” said BP CEO Bob Dudley. “MOEX is the first company to join BP in helping to meet our shared responsibilities in the Gulf, and Mitsui, through MOEX USA Corporation, is showing great corporate citizenship in standing behind its affiliate and making a contribution to meet the costs of this tragic accident. We call on the other parties involved in the Macondo well to follow the lead of the MOEX and Mitsui parties.”