The federal Minerals Management Service and its successor, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, halted offshore drilling for six months while the rules for drillers were rewritten and the investigation into the causes of the Deepwater Horizon accident was proceeding. The processing of permits for drilling in shallow water also slowed for several months, prompting the label permitorium.
At the insistence of BP, the settlement agreement specifically excludes “moratoria losses” for oil and gas service companies, which some contend could total billions of dollars. The companies will be allowed to attempt to collect those losses as part of the ongoing civil lawsuit, which includes claims filed against BP and other companies that were not made part of the economic settlement agreement.
BP contends losses resulting from the moratoria are the responsibility of the federal government.
But the settlement agreement does allow the oil and gas service companies to collect for other losses caused by the spill, and it is the rules to be used to determine those losses that are at issue, according to the motion.
The settlement agreement included language calling for BP and the plaintiffs’ attorneys to agree on guidance for the claims administrator to use in determining what losses were the result of the spill and what losses were caused by the moratoria.