Anadarko Puts Full Blame for Gulf Oil Spill on BP

oil rig explosionAnadarko (APC), a 25% owner of the Gulf drilling operation in which BP (BP) owns 65%, blamed the entire Deepwater Horizon disaster on the British oil company.

In a statement after the market close, Anadarko's CEO Jim Hackett said, "The mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that this tragedy was preventable and the direct result of BP's reckless decisions and actions. Frankly, we are shocked by the publicly available information that has been disclosed in recent investigations and during this week's testimony that, among other things, indicates BP operated unsafely and failed to monitor and react to several critical warning signs during the drilling of the Macondo well. BP's behavior and actions likely represent gross negligence or willful misconduct and thus affect the obligations of the parties under the operating agreement."

Anadarko also said it will donate to charitable and civic agencies along the Gulf Coast any revenue it is entitled to receive from oil recovered from the cleanup efforts. It also said all cleanup costs for the disaster belong to BP.

Anadarko Debt Rating Reduced to Junk

At about the same time that Anadarko issued its statement, Moody's cut the company's rating to junk status -- down to Ba1, from Baa3. About $13 billion of Anadarko debt was affected.

BP reacted to the statement by saying it strongly disagreed with the Anadarko contention that all of the spill liability belonged to it.

While Anadarko said it was making its comments because of a strong reaction to BP's weak safety measures, the U.S. company may simply be positioning itself for defending the huge number of liability suits that will arise from the Deepwater spill. Some legal experts say these claims could mount into the tens of billions of dollars.

Anadarko's shares have fallen from $80 in April to a Friday close of $43.37.

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