If you are a shareholder in any of the companies responsible for the massive oil spill spawned by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster – BP PLC, TransOcean Ltd., Halliburton Energy Services Inc., or Cameron International Corp. – you may be eligible to join a shareholder derivative lawsuit. Our Deepwater Horizon oil spill shareholder lawsuit lawyers are conducting an aggressive investigation to determine if BP and these other firms ignored crucial safety issues or engaged in other behavior that contributed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
BP PLC leased the Deepwater Horizon rig from TransOcean Ltd. The blowout equipment which failed on the rig was provided by Cameron International Corp. Halliburton Energy Services Inc. provided drilling services on Deepwater Horizon that may have contributed to the blast. All of these companies face billions of dollars in liability because of this disaster. Following the explosion and oil spill, the stock price of all of these companies took a serious hit.
If you own shares in BP PLC, TransOcean Ltd., Halliburton Energy Services, and Cameron International Corp., our Deepwater Horizon oil spill shareholder lawyers want to hear from you today. We are offering a free case evaluation to stockholders in any of these firms. Please contact us today to protect your legal rights.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion and Spill
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 crew members and spawning a massive oil spill that endangers the fragile ecosystem along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Three weeks after the spill, BP had been unable to staunch the leaking well, which was gushing more than 200,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day. All efforts to cap the spill had failed to that point, and there were fears that the well would continue to leak unabated for several months.
BP, which owns the lease to the well, though the rig itself belonged to TransOcean, has admitted liability for the April 20 explosion and subsequent devastation. Some workers who survived the Deepwater Horizon explosion have claimed that the blast occurred while drilling at 22,000 feet – 2,000 feet deeper than BP was allowed by its federal permit. BP also failed to take other safety measures, such as installing an acoustically activated remote-control shut-off valve or deep-water valve, either of which could have prevented the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Deepwater Horizon had also been the site of numerous spills and accidents even before the April 20 disaster. During one incident in 2008, 77 people were evacuated from the rig after it listed and began to sink when a section of pipe was accidentally removed from its ballast system. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard had cited the rig for being an “acknowledged pollution source” 18 times in the past 11 years.
The safety record of TransOcean has also been questioned in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. In 2009, the company’s board eliminated executive bonuses because of concerns about safety practices. According to TransOcean’s April 1, 2010 Proxy, the decision was made to “underscore the company’s commitment to safety” and to give executives an incentive to prevent future accidents.
A Wall Street Journal investigation also found that TransOcean’s record worsened by 31% in 2009 compared to 2008 in an internal assessment of potentially dangerous accidents. TransOcean also failed to reduce the number of incidents in which heavy falling objects could have injured workers, despite improvement goals in 2009.
At the time of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, Halliburton was engaged in a process called cementing that may have played a role in the disaster. The process is supposed to prevent oil and natural gas from escaping by filling gaps between the outside of the well pipe and the inside of the hole bored into the ocean floor. When the Deepwater Horizon explosion occurred, workers had finished pumping cement to fill the space between the pipe and the sides of the hole and had begun temporarily plugging the well with cement.
According to The Wall Street Journal, regulators have previously identified problems in the cementing process as a leading cause of well blowouts. When cement develops cracks or doesn’t set properly, oil and gas can escape, ultimately flowing out of control. The gas is highly combustible and prone to ignite, as it appears to have done aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig. According to experts, the timing of the cementing in relation to the blast—and the procedure’s history of causing problems—point to it as a possible culprit in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Cameron International Corp., a subsidiary of TransOcean, built the blowout-prevention equipment for Deepwater Horizon. The blowout preventer is a vital piece of safety equipment on any oil rig. The blowout preventer should close an out-of-control well, but failed to work on Deepwater Horizon.
Even before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a blowout preventer on another rig – Discover Enterprise – manufactured by Cameron was the subject of a dispute between BP and TransOcean. In June 2000, BP issued a notice of default to TransOcean because of concerns about the equipment. TransOcean eventually acknowledged that the blowout preventer on the rig did “not work exactly right.” The blowout preventer on Deepwater Horizon was fitted at about the same time BP was complaining of problems with the equipment on its sister vessel.
All of these companies face serious liabilities because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, BP’s liability is capped at $75 million. However, legislation is moving through Congress that would raise the liability cap to $10 billion and make the change retroactive to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. BP is also liable for damages under the Louisiana Oil Spill and Prevention Response Act up to $350 million in damages. In addition, TransOcean, Cameron and Halliburton are liable to BP for their own negligence and misconduct in causing the disaster.
Shareholders Impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Because of the scope of this disaster, shareholders in all of these companies have sustained, and will likely continue to suffer, substantial financial losses. We are currently investigating claims on behalf of current shareholders in all of these firms to determine whether shareholder derivative lawsuits may be warranted. A shareholder derivative suit is a lawsuit instigated by a stockholder of a corporation, not on the shareholder’s own behalf, but on behalf of the corporation. In such an action, a shareholder brings a claim in the name of the corporation against the parties allegedly causing harm to the corporation.
Victims Affected By Deepwater Horizan Oil Spill Shareholder
If you are a shareholder in BP PLC, TransOcean Ltd., Halliburton Energy Services Inc., or Cameron International Corp. you have valuable legal rights. Please contact us today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for a free consultation with one of our experienced shareholder derivative lawyers.