* Anadarko declared force majeure on total of three rigs
* Transocean follows Noble in rejecting Anadarko claim
* Transocean says other customers mulling force majeure
* Anadarko shares drop 2.2 pct in after-hours trading
* Ensco: GoM events may have "material" effect on results
(Adds Ensco statement, Anadarko shares, more from Transocean)
SAN FRANCISCO, June 15 Transocean Ltd (RIGN.S)
(RIG.N) has rejected a claim of force majeure by Anadarko
Petroleum Corp (APC.N) on a deepwater rig in the Gulf of Mexico
due to the U.S. deepwater drilling moratorium.
Transocean, with 14 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, said
contracts varied in their treatment of an "actual" force
majeure event, and "several customers" had indicated they might
declare it, but it was pushing back against this trend.
"We do not believe that a force majeure event exists as a
result of the drilling moratorium," Transocean said in its
latest fleet update on Tuesday.
Anadarko, part owner of the blown-out well gushing oil into
the Gulf of Mexico, said nearly two weeks ago it had declared
force majeure on three rigs in the region after the United
States halted deepwater activity there. [ID:nN03221734]
One of those rigs was the Discoverer Spirit, owned by
Transocean, which said it had rejected the claim and was
currently in discussions with Anadarko.
Anadarko shares fell 2.2 percent to $43.70 in after-hours
Force majeure relieves a company from liability when it
cannot fulfill contractual obligations because of natural and
On May 27, the U.S. government ordered a temporary halt to
drilling at 33 deepwater exploration rigs and extended a ban on
new drilling by six months as part of a broader response to the
catastrophic BP Plc (BP.L) (BP.N) oil spill. [ID:nLDE64R00P]
Noble Corp (NE.N), a rig contractor based in Switzerland
along with Transocean, also rejected Anadarko's force majeure
claim on one of its rigs.
Analysts say the third rig on which Anadarko sought to
declare it was owned by Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc (DO.N),
while Anadarko kept another rig working, owned by London-based
Ensco Plc (ESV.N).
Ensco said in a fleet update on Tuesday it was in talks
with customers to discuss contingency plans in light of the
recent events in the Gulf of Mexico that could have a "material
adverse effect" on the company's results.
It confirmed its new deepwater rig, ENSCO 8502, was in the
process of commissioning to start work for Nexen Inc NXY.TO
in the Gulf of Mexico in mid-August.
But Nexen had said on Monday the drilling moratorium would
delay some of its work in the Gulf of Mexico. [ID:nN14220072]
BP owns 65 percent of the well that ruptured on April 20,
while Anadarko owns 25 percent. Transocean owned the rig that
sank after the well blowout.
Anadarko was not the first to seek force majeure after the
moratorium; On June 1, Cobalt International Energy Inc (CIE.N)
declared it on another Diamond-owned rig. [ID:nSGE6500HH]
(Reporting by Braden Reddall; Editing by Matthew Lewis and