Transocean asks judge to force BP to indemnify for damages

Transocean Ltd. (RIG)’s drilling contract with BP Plc (BP/) promised indemnification for damages from oil spilled below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and should be enforced for claims over the Deepwater Horizon accident, the rig owner told a judge.

Claiming the drilling contractor shares blame for the disaster, London-based BP sued Transocean in April to recover part of more than $40 billion in damages and costs from the 2010 spill. Transocean accused BP of breaching their contract by failing to defend the rig owner and hold it harmless against claims.

“What Transocean seeks is to hold BP to its promise,” John M. Elsley, a lawyer for Transocean, told U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier at a hearing in New Orleans federal court today. “BP does not want that to happen.”

BP has argued that Transocean’s conduct voided the agreement. Transocean, based in Vernier, Switzerland, denies willful misconduct and claims the indemnity provision requires BP to pay virtually all damages and cleanup costs because it was a subsurface spill.

The April 2010 Macondo well blowout and the explosion that followed killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The sinking of Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and spill led to hundreds of lawsuits against BP and its partners and contractors.