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BP Files Deepwater Horizon Lawsuits

April 21, 2011

BP is suing the owner of the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last year for $40 billion in damages.

BP said safety systems on Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon rig had failed.

The company claimed in a statement that Swiss-based company Transocean “missed critical signs that hydrocarbons were flowing up the riser and failed to take appropriate actions.”

“As the owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig, Transocean is a ‘responsible party’ under the Oil Pollution Act and should therefore contribute to addressing economic and environmental damage sustained in the Gulf Coast,” it added.

BP also sued the maker of the rig’s blowout preventer BOP, claiming that the device failed to stop the huge oil spill that followed the explosion.

BP said in a statement that the BOP, which was meant to cut the faulty drill pipe and seal the well, failed to close fully due to a piece of trapped drill pipe.

“The Presidential Commission and BP’s internal investigation found that the Deepwater Horizon accident was the result of multiple causes involving multiple parties including the BOP’s failure,” the statement said.

BP filed both of the lawsuits on Wednesday, which was the first anniversary of the explosion.

The explosion on April 20, 2010 led to over 200 million gallons of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the well, soiling hundreds of miles of coastline in the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

BP said in federal court on Wednesday that Transocean and Cameron International should help it pay for tens of billions of dollars in liabilities resulting from the spill.

The company also wants the court to declare that Cameron caused or contributed to the disaster.

“The Deepwater Horizon BOP was unreasonably dangerous, and has caused and continues to cause harm, loss, injuries, and damages to BP (and others) stemming from the blowout of Macondo well” and resulting spill, the BP lawsuit said.

Investigators hired by the U.S. government said last month that the blowout preventer’s design was flawed.

They also said Transocean workers’ actions contributed to the blowout preventer’s failure.

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