Oil rig’s owner seeks to cap liability

Associated Press / May 14, 2010

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NEW YORK — The company that owns the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig will petition a federal court to cap its liability at less than $27 million. Transocean Ltd. would then be left with as much as $533 million in insurance money from the failed venture — almost enough to cover the revenue it expected from a three-year contract with BP.

It has, however, estimated additional expenses from higher insurance premiums and legal fees of about $200 million.

The move comes as lawsuits pile up against Transocean and BP, which leased the rig and is trying to shut off a well that’s spewing 210,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico each day.

Tim Howard, a Northeastern University law professor who has filed potential class-action suits on behalf of numerous interests in the Gulf, predicted Transocean’s petition will fail.