US sues BP, others over Gulf oil spill

US launched a legal battle against BP Plc and its partners by suing them for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, which could cost the companies billions of dollars.

US sues BP, others over Gulf oil spill

The Obama administration on Wednesday launched a legal battle against BP Plc and its partners by suing them for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, which could cost the companies billions of dollars.

The lawsuit seeks damages from the well owners BP, Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Mitsui & Co Ltd unit MOEX, and well driller Transocean Ltd and its insurer QBE Underwriting/Lloyd's Syndicate 1036, part of Lloyds of London, for their roles in the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

"While today's civil action marks a critical step forward, it is not a final step," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters at a news conference.

"Both our criminal and civil investigations are continuing, and our work to ensure that the American taxpayers are not forced to bear the costs of restoring the Gulf area -- and its economy -- goes on," he said.

The suit, the first by the U.S. government after the April 20 explosion aboard the drilling rig in which 11 workers died, was filed in a New Orleans federal courtm which is considering private lawsuits against BP and the others for the spill.

BP, which returned to profitability in the third quarter of 2010, has begun selling assets and amassing a massive warchest to pay for damages caused by the oil spill, which the oil concern has estimated could reach as much as $40 billion.

The oil company said on Wednesday it was weighing the sale of its Canadian natural-gas liquids business.

In response to the lawsuit, BP said it is "solely a statement of the government's allegations and does not in any manner constitute any finding of liability or any judicial finding that the allegations have merit."

"BP will answer the government's allegations in a timely manner and will continue to cooperate with all government investigations and inquiries," the company said.

The lawsuit against BP and others warned that "the full extent of potential injuries, destruction, loss and loss of services is not yet fully known and may not be fully konwn for many years."

Reuters

Last Mod: 16 Aralık 2010, 13:14
Add Comment