BP in £470m battle with Transocean

BP AND Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, look set to enter into a legal bloodbath after the oil major has given notice that it will issue a £470m claim against the rig’s insurance policy.

The two are set to go head to head over who will cover costs linked to the tragic Gulf of Mexico spill.

Insurers for Transocean, including syndicates in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, have already filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration that they have no obligation to cover BP, which was leasing the Deepwater Horizon rig from Transocean at the time of the 20 April explosion.

The recent claim is one of many legal battles facing BP, as the group is currently at odds with Macondo well partner Anadarko over spill costs.

BP has already received a number of class action claims from US businesses affected by the Gulf spill, while it is understood that chief executive Tony Hayward has been named as a defendant in some legal suits.

Meanwhile, costs related to the spill have climbed to $2.35bn (£1.5bn), while BP said that it has already made 39,000 claim payments totalling $126m (£83m).

Uncertainties over the approaching hurricane season mounted over the weekend as tropical storm Alex looked likely to hit the Louisiana coast. The storm eventually weakened, but was a stark reminder to BP that its efforts to cap the leaking well could be threatened.

A spokesperson from BP said that the group has “well worked plans” to deal with a hurricane.

● May: Lloyds of London insurers connected to BP seek declaration on Transocean obligations.

● June: Anadarko refuses to pay for its share of the costs.

● June: Class action law suits begin to spill in.