U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled on Friday that Anadarko Petroleum, the Texas-based independent oil and natural gas producer that held a 25% non-operating interest in the ill-fated Macondo well project, must pursue arbitration proceedings with BP before litigation can be considered.
Following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the largest oil spill in U.S. history, BP (BP), Europe's second-largest oil company, saddled Anadarko with a $1 billion tab for cleanup costs, which the U.S. company has refused to pay while laying blame for the spill on BP.
Barbier's decision probably did not come as a shock to Anadarko (APC) as the company's contract with BP stipulates that arbitration must be pursued first in such disputes before litigation can be an option.
Anadarko said Barbier's decision does nothing to impact its claims while BP said Anadarko has continually tried to skirt its financial responsibilities related to the spill. Earlier this year, Anadarko CEO Jim Hackett said his company would entertain coming to the negotiating table with BP under the right circumstances.
Barbier also dismissed lawsuits against BP claiming the company defrauded government regulators about the safety of its drilling operations and its ability to respond to oil spills, including its response to the Macondo incident, Bloomberg News reported.