Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble (NE:US) Corp. agreed to settle their $102 million legal dispute over the termination of a drilling rig lease after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill brought some U.S. offshore drilling to a halt.
The accord was announced to U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore in Houston today as the case was about to go to trial, according to a docket entry. Settlement documents will be filed by tomorrow, according to the docket.
Anadarko terminated its lease contract for Noble’s offshore oil rig in June 2010, after President Barack Obama’s May 27 announcement of a six-month ban on deep-water drilling following the BP Plc (BP/) spill. Anadarko sued Noble, asking the court to rule the contract was “lawfully terminated” because the moratorium should be considered an act of God, or “force majeure,” that prevented use of the Noble Amos Runner rig as of May 28.
Noble, seeking as much as $102 million in damages for lost lease payments, countersued Anadarko for breach of contract. Noble contended the moratorium wasn’t a force majeure and Anadarko could have used the rig for other operations.
Paul Dobrowski, an attorney for Baar, Switzerland-based Noble, declined to comment after the settlement was announced. Noble spokesman John Breed declined to comment or provide details of the settlement.
John Christiansen, a spokesman for the Woodlands, Texas- based Anadarko, declined to comment.
The case is Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC:US) v. Noble Drilling (U.S.) LLC, 10-cv-02185, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).
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