Transocean Files Federal Motion Against BP

Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Transocean filed a motion in U.S District Court Tuesday to compel BP to defend, indemnify and hold it harmless for damages related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as stated in a Transocean-issued press release.

Transocean and BP signed a contract in 1998, which was later extended several times, in which BP agreed to "defend, release, protect, indemnify and hold harmless" Transocean for any and all fines and damages associated with environmental pollution stemming from the well.

On the one-year anniversary of the Macondo disaster, BP sued Transocean for $40 billion of alleged damages.

"BP's posture in this matter is not only offensive to the thousands of men and women who work together at Transocean, but it constitutes a direct threat to the sanctity of contracts and to the economic underpinnings of an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people in the United States alone," said Nick Deeming, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Transocean.

In an emailed statement, BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said Transocean breached the drilling contract and prejudiced BP in the process.

"To enforce the indemnification would be to allow Transocean to escape the consequences of its actions and avoid meeting its obligations in the Gulf," Beaudo said.


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
VHZ | Nov. 10, 2011
BP is guilty that's for sure ... but not alone. WHY Weatherford agreed to join BP in this unbelievable compensation, but other companies stay aside? There are many things that BP managers should have done to prevent this occurrence, but its easy to say now.

Tashev | Nov. 6, 2011
Dear All The BP representatives on board are directly responsible for the tragedy. It was a part of their duties to control the quality of the operations including the cement quality,cement logging , casing pressure tests (after cementing ). It seems they ignored the advices given by the Transocean technical crew. The BOP malfunction is possible but we could prevent the disaster if all the rest of operations were properly controlled.The other issue is that BP managers had the feeling they are the best in the world. I used to work for BP and several times I found the management incompetent.

ian | Nov. 6, 2011
drill floor PVT - working?, driller knew what it was for?, mud man on pits - see anything?, toolpushers office - no alarms? for whatever the reason, all kicks are controllable if caught in time - people not watching their business + complacency seems to be the cause of this mess. it is a shame that that not much has been said about the guys that perished. after 40 yrs of watching pipe turn to the right, deeper + ever more cheaper, am glad to watching this from the bank!

Dave | Nov. 5, 2011
BP through their Company Men makes the decisions yes, but TO or any other Contractor have OIMs who are in charge of the rig overall and who can and should say NO when they feel something asked of them is not right, unsafe or against Government/company policy. I am sorry, in this case TO has to shoulder some of the responsibility. If not, then why have their rules and regulations and PIC if they wont stand up for the Contractor and its people. OIMs go to jail for not doing their job.

Dave | Nov. 5, 2011
I don't think Transocean should be allowed to get away scott free. I understand a hold harmless contract, but when the rig has failings in equipment and safety and their so called competent, highly trained personnel don't do their job, then why should the Operator take the blame. If this is to be the case, then Operators should look at these contracts and change them. If the Contractor refuses, then simple don't use their rigs. Does that also mean that BP will have to pay out the claims from the families of those who lost their lives?

John Archer | Nov. 4, 2011
I think its thin gruel. The Macondo spill violated any number of federal laws by both BP and Transocean. I dont believe that contract provision would be worth the paper its written on if Transocean is found to be criminally negligent in aspects of well control. Just my two cents.

Joe Skovrinski | Nov. 4, 2011
Obviously, this is the first salvo fired at the beginning of a possible long and exhaustive negotiation and possible ruling by the presiding court. When a contract is signed, it is signed as per the descriptions of the working enviornment at that time. Things change along the way, and that is why we petition the courts to see if the contract is still valid based upon the activities of each party in the contract over time.

Brian Race | Nov. 3, 2011
These clauses are in the majority of contracts across the globe, so if these fall down then this is a serious future problem. BP has to technically prove that there is gross negligence otherwise I cannot see how they will win the case!

Tim T. | Nov. 2, 2011
Randy C - You are going to have to be more specific in your arguments about "violations of law". My understanding was that for the indemnity clause to not be valid that BP would have to prove that RIG acted with "Gross Negligence". BP is trying to shake down RIG the way the US Govt extracted $20 billion from BP. Two wrongs dont make a right in my book. On the flip side, RIGs decision to dig in its heels and let the lawyers take control of this situation appears myopic. This is a PR nightmare and a settlement would help, not hinder, RIG in the long run. Just my two cents.

pete | Nov. 2, 2011
Transocean has a responsibility and duty of care to their employees, the public and the environment, why should they get off the hook completely? Don't they have embroidered on their workers coveralls, "I am accountable"?

| Nov. 2, 2011
Randy, Yes criminal activity can not be indemnified BUT that is the responsibility of the criminal courts to address and NOT the parties to the contract. By getting the client to indemnify the contractor he assures himself that the client will not make issues in Civil court. Remember that Clients always manage their contractors and always "interfere" in the contractor process when they feel it should be done differently. Often, contractors "give in" to the clients to ensure future work from them. This is the very reason for the indemnity clause. Needless to say, no ethical contractor will allow a client to push them into illegal activity.

Charles Alston | Nov. 2, 2011
BP Company Man makes the decisions so BP should be held Responsible not Transocean.

Donald Andrechek | Nov. 2, 2011
The cost of not doing the proper business. Have a deep look into the management system, for all the answers are there. Health and Safety will one day come before anything else, we have no choice.

Ron Anderson | Nov. 2, 2011
BP is responsible. Period.

| Nov. 2, 2011
Safety and regulatory compliance are only key phrases used by todays O & G companies. The bottom line is when it cost less to replace equipment, wipe up a spill, or pay off the family of the deceased nothing will change. Its simple risk to reward ratio economics that drives the O & G industry. I challenge each and everyone of you to find a company whos mission statement doesnt paraphrase "To maximize the return on investment to our share holders." I can remember when they used to state to be the best, safest, and honor our greatest assets our employees. Who will pay is the consumer at the pump, the men and woman who sacrifice daily working in the industry, and the families of those men and woman.

David | Nov. 2, 2011
Transocean may think they are indemnified and held harmless but I would imagine if proven that they were to blame that indemnity would be void. Transocean should look to some of their other assets to confirm they operate in a safe manner, I am sure that Class/HSEs around the world will be casting a dutiful eye over them.

Marcel Depart | Nov. 2, 2011
The drilling business is very much like the army, the client govern and the contractor follow. For the contractor not to obey the dictate of the client is to assume financial harm. Any down times at the drilling contractor account means stand by rate, or half the day rate. In this case the rig manager requested his VP for continuing drilling. The VP has to assume his decision. BP wanted to save money, so much for that. RIG should have not obey BP. The RIG VP is guilty of greeds. He took his chances, he lost.

David Deal | Nov. 2, 2011
Contracts rule unless Gross Negligence can be proven. BP made a mistake and they need to suck it up and admit it.

JoAnn | Nov. 1, 2011
11 people lost their lives. That should never be forgotten. Oil companies should work together to ensure this type of tragedy never happens again. The bill belongs with all companies involved and they should all be willing to pay their fair share. Nothing can bring those 11 men back and we dishonor them by fighting over money. Just my humble opinion.

Unique23b | Nov. 1, 2011
Randy Comeaux, which law(s) did Transocean violate and how did they violate it (them)? Please provide citation(s). Thanks.

Dan Hobbs | Nov. 1, 2011
BP was the operator, they were the boss. They are just trying to make someone else responsible for their incompetence. BP was giving the orders short-cutting the casing and cement job, and ignoring Halliburton's recommendations, by being in a hurry and trying to save a dollar.

randy comeaux | Nov. 1, 2011
contractual agreements are not recongnized when one party has engaged in illegal or criminal activity , all 3 companies involved in the Mocondo Well Oil Spill engaged in activities which were in violation of the laws which govern the offshore oil and gas industry, consequently all 3 must each bear their share of the legal penalties time for the service companies in the gulf of mexico to step up and accept responsibility when their employees engage in criminal or unethical activity which endanger life , environment and the assets in the gulf of mexico .

| Nov. 1, 2011
What are the terms of the contract that BP & TRANS OCEAN agreed to? That should identify who is/was at fault

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