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18 Okt 2011

Ed Crooks, Sheila McNulty, Financial Times

Deepwater a warning for junior partners [USA]

As the consequences for legal liabilities and regulatory enforcement start to become clear, the [Deepwater Horizon] disaster is having a renewed impact on oil companies’ strategic and operational decisions. BP’s agreement...with...Anadarko...was a warning to any company acting as a junior partner with a minority stake in a project operated by someone else. Anadarko has agreed to pay $4bn to BP to settle claims between the two companies and is still liable for its share of civil and criminal penalties imposed by the government. Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Coalition, representing smaller companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico, said: “The significant liability faced by the non-operating partners on the Macondo well should make exploration companies think even harder about who they are partnering with, especially on prolific wells.”He said non-operating partners would ensure they were fully comfortable that the operator had properly designed the well, and was ready to respond to a blow-out with systems to cap the well and capture any oil spilt.