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Is Deepwater Horizon the New Ecuador?

Nearly two years after the worst accidental offshore oil spill in the history of the energy industry, some of the biggest companies in the world are busy pointing their legal fingers at one another in court over who has to pay what in claims, damages and fines over the deadly Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A federal judge this week ruled that BP is still obligated to a clause in its contract with Transocean that would protect the rig owner from damages related to the spill. That means BP still has to shell out money to settle claims filed by those along the southern U.S. coast impacted by the spill. BP, meanwhile, is suing Halliburton, something Halliburton said was ridiculous.  If the legal mess over Chevron's case involving Ecuador is any indication, former BP boss Tony Hayward will be pushing 80 before this gets settled.
Oil gushed from the Macondo well thousands of feet below the surface for most of the summer of 2010 before crews were finally able to control the spill. Fishing lanes were closed and the coastal tourism sector, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, suffered dearly.  Eleven rig workers were killed.
A federal report determined a faulty cement barrier was at least one of the underlying causes of the accident. In October, the government outlined seven different violations for operator BP, four for rig-owner Transocean and four for Halliburton, which worked on the cement barrier. BP sued Halliburton, which said it was looking forward to court.

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