* Transocean not required to name BP as an insured-judge
* Judge says Alabama, Louisiana may seek punitive damages
* April 2010 oil spill caused 11 deaths
By Jonathan Stempel and Braden Reddall
Nov 15 A federal judge rejected BP Plc's bid to use insurance coverage from Transocean Ltd to cover costs stemming from last year's record oil
spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tuesday's decision by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in
New Orleans rejected BP's bid to win access to $750 million of
insurance coverage under nine policies.
It was the second legal setback that Barbier dealt BP in
two days. On Monday, the judge said Alabama and Louisiana may
seek punitive damages from BP and other companies for spill
damages, though he dismissed some of the states' other
The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig's April 20, 2010
explosion caused 11 deaths and led to the largest offshore oil
spill in U.S. history.
Transocean owned the rig, while BP owned a majority of the
Macondo well whose blowout led to the spill.
Barbier oversees hundreds of lawsuits arising from the spill.
"BP, under the drilling contract, assumed responsibility
for Macondo well oil release pollution liabilities," Barbier
wrote. "The Deepwater Horizon incident entailed a subsurface
release; thus, Transocean did not assume pollution liabilities
arising from the incident."
A spokesman for London-based BP did not immediately
respond to a request for comment. Transocean spokesman Lou
Colasuonno had no immediate comment.
BP has also sued Halliburton Co , which did cement
work on the well, and Cameron International Corp ,
which made a blowout preventer, to share in spill costs. The
contractors have countered with lawsuits of their own.
Last month, Anadarko Petroleum Corp , which owned
25 percent of the Macondo well, agreed to pay BP $4 billion
toward clean-up costs and victims compensation.
Earlier Tuesday, Transocean Chief Executive Steven Newman
said at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference that his
company plans to invoke indemnity provisions as a basis for
any settlement with BP. He called BP's contractual promise to
cover clean-up costs as "iron-clad."
Alabama and Louisiana are seeking money for damages to
natural resources and property, economic damages such as lost
tax revenue, cleanup costs and damages to reputation.
Barbier had in August allowed thousands of individuals and
business owners claiming damages to also pursue punitive
damages. The judge has set a February 2012 start date for a
trial to apportion blame.
The case is In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater
Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, U.S.
District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, No.