Anadarko Petroleum Corp. officials see the Macondo deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) well blowout from last year as no longer a threat to the company’s future earnings results as it was in the recently completed third quarter. A $4 billion settlement with BP plc has resolved all of the major pending litigation involving Anadarko.

All of the major private and government investigations have confirmed that Anadarko had no direct responsibility for failure of Macondo, said Robert Reeves, Anadarko’s general counsel, answering questions from financial analysts Tuesday during a third quarter conference call.

In response to specific questions from financial analysts about the company’s future exposure to possible fines or penalties, Reeves said he is confident that any penalties for Anadarko, if they do eventually develop, will be “minimal.”

“All the government and private investigations have confirmed that we were not directly involved in the drilling of this [Macondo] well, and courts’ rulings as well found that in various motions to dismiss,” Reeves said. “They have all confirmed that we were not directly involved and could not be held at fault for the drilling of this well.

“As a result, the culpability factor under the [federal] Clean Water Act will restrict any fines or penalties.”

Analysts were concerned about future impacts that might come from expected further action next year out of a Louisiana federal district court filing that was made last year by the U.S. Justice Department. As Anadarko said in a 10Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, the Justice Department complaint seeks separate penalties against Anadarko and its exploration/production company.

As part of the settlement, “BP has agreed to indemnify us on Oil Pollution Act [OPA] issues, third-party damages and related claims, as well as any natural resource damages,” Reeves said. “By far, the vast majority of any potential claims against [us] we have settled with BP and they have agreed to indemnify us for. We also have corporate assurances from both BP North America and BP plc to back up those indemnities.”

In the SEC filing, Anadarko said it does not consider a Clean Water Act (CWA) penalty assessment probable, and thus, it has not recorded any potential liability exposure.

“Given the company’s lack of direct operational involvement in the event, as recently confirmed by the Louisiana [federal] district court, the company believes that its potential exposure to CWA penalties will not materially impact the company’s consolidated financial position,” Anadarko said in the 10Q filing.

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