BP partners won't pay cleanup costs

Anadarko Petroleum and Mitsui are billed $1.68 billion as their shares of the Gulf oil spill cleanup. They argue that BP's negligence caused the spill.

By Charley Blaine Aug 4, 2010 1:06PM

Updated: 4:33 p.m. ET

Imagine getting a bill in the mail suggesting that you owe $1.2 billion for your share of the BP (BP) spill cleanup costs.

What to do? In the case of Anadarko Petroleum (APC), a 25% owner of the Macondo project, the answer for now is to say something like, "Don't think so."

Ditto Mitsui (MITSY), the Japanese conglomerate that owns 10% of the project.

How come? Both companies have been nonoperating investors in the project, and both have taken the position that, based on what has been disclosed publicly, the oil spill was the result of BP's "gross negligence or willful misconduct."

What you didn't know until both reported quarterly results this week is how much BP wants them to pay.

Anadarko acknowledges that BP has sent bills totaling some $1.2 billion as its share of the cleanup costs. The disclosure came in a nine-page discussion of the dispute in its 10-Q quarterly report filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But it won't do so until -- and if -- investigations conclude that BP wasn't negligent.

Mitsui says its bills from BP total $480 million.

In other words, the dispute will probably end up in the courts.

Meanwhile, Anadarko shares were up 4.3% to $55.42 today after reporting earnings from ongoing operations of 49 cents a share, ahead of the consensus estimate of 35 cents.

As important, Anadarko raised its production guidance for the full year, expecting sales volumes to be in the range of 232 million to 236 million barrels of oil equivalent (or BOE), an increase of 5% to 7% over 2009.


BP was down 1.5% to $39.39. Mitsui was off 2.3% to $267.65.

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