Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Anadarko-BP settlement deal not imminent -source

* BP shares firmer on rumor
* Anadarko declines comment

(Reuters) - A settlement between BP Plc and Anadarko Petroleum concerning liability around last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill is not imminent, a source familiar with the dispute said.

Shares in BP had risen on market speculation that Anadarko Petroleum Corp will bring forward a settlement with the major British oil company.

The source familiar with the dispute said a settlement between BP and Anadarko was not imminent, and attributed the chatter about a potential deal to the release of the U.S. company's earnings, even though that release date had been set months earlier.

Anadarko declined to comment on the issue, citing its policy of not discussing market rumors. Its shares were up 1 percent at $83.13 on Wednesday morning. BP shares were up 2.8 percent in London.

Anadarko is scheduled to release second-quarter earnings on Monday after the market close.

Anadarko has maintained that it has a strong legal position and should face no liability in last year's spill, but Jim Hackett, the company's CEO, said in May that the company would discuss the issue with BP under the right circumstances.

A BP spokeswoman said: "We've always said that we expect our partners to pay their contribution and that's all we can say."

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans on Monday put Anadarko's claims against BP on hold, citing a provision in the companies' operating agreement for the Macondo well that disputes be arbitrated.

Anadarko owned a 25 percent stake in the blown-out Macondo well. BP had asked Anadarko to help pay for some of the cleanup and recovery costs, but the company has refused. Anadarko then filed a lawsuit in April, claiming it was not at fault for the explosion and spill.

(Reporting by Matt Daily, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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