The ruling, together with last week's decision on Transocean's financial obligations stemming from its conduct at the Macondo well, is a strong signal that contractors involved in critical well operations will be held accountable for their actions under the law.
All official investigations have concluded that Halliburton played a causal role in the accident, and following this ruling, Halliburton is, at a minimum, responsible for any punitive damages as well as civil penalties to the extent that they may apply under the Clean Water Act. Moreover, the court determined that if Halliburton is found to have committed fraud, then the indemnity could be void.
BP has acknowledged its role in the accident and has paid more than $7.8 billion in claims, advances and other payments to individuals, businesses and governments, regardless of whether third parties ultimately would be responsible for any of that sum or additional liabilities. Our charges and provisions never assumed any recovery from Transocean or Halliburton for pollution-related damages. These two decisions should put an end to the attempts by Transocean and Halliburton to avoid their obligations.
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