3rd May, 2013
Anadarko is a partnering company with BP that owned a 25% stock in the well drilled using the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf Coast oil spill. Now that BP is currently facing trial for its role in one of the worst oil spills in American history, Anadarko is facing a lawsuit from its own investors. The investors claim that Anadarko did not dispel the detailed nature of its involvement with BP before and after the 2010 oil spill that took the lives of eleven petroleum workers aboard the ship that sailed out in the Gulf to ensure the completion of BP’s Maconda project.
Anadarko’s lawyers are defending the company. “There is no doubt that the events of April 20, 2010 were tragic. Nothing alleged against the defendants in this case, however, amounts to securities fraud” (“Anadarko seeks dismissal of investor suit over Gulf spill.” FuelFix.). Another attorney, Charles Schwartz, also supports Anadarko against its complaining investors: “The plaintiffs are making an attempt to pound a square peg into events that do not constitute securities fraud” (Margaret Cronin Frisk and Laurel Brubaker Calkins, “Anadarko Seeks Dismissal of Investor Suit Over Gulf Spill.” Bloomberg News).
Anadarko’s investors have every right to claim that Anadarko is guilty of securities fraud. The company knew at the time that it had more of a role than it claimed, such a role, in fact, that the company was forced to settle with BP after the oil spill took place. While the company can claim that it is innocent and did not do anything wrong, the company bears some responsibility for its role in the 2010 oil disaster. Investors are those who place their trust in the companies in which they provide financial support. When a company faces a massive lawsuit such as the BP oil spill trial, or a lawsuit from BP for the events of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the company’s investor funds are at stake. Anadarko’s investors provided the funds that Anadarko has to use to pay for its role in the tragic event.
The biggest complaint against Anadarko at the moment is that the company claimed it had no role and would not pose a financial risk to investor funds. The company’s statement right after April 20th was that investor funds were safe and protected. “Three weeks later, when it becomes more clear that Anadarko will be on the hook for a lot more than we thought, the stock drops another 20 percent or so,” said investor attorney John Browne.
If the company owned 25% of the well dug in the 2010 oil spill, what would make the company presume it had no guilt? This is what makes the company seem as though it is guilty of securities fraud. In any event like the one that killed eleven people and destroyed the economy and health of Gulf Coast residents, the safest thing to do is assume guilt — even if you have none. Had Anadarko told its investors that it would have more guilt, the company may have spared itself from a lawsuit such as this. The company failed to disclose the truth because it feared the loss of its investors. In this regard, Anadarko is no different than any other company. At the same time, however, the company should have erred on the side of caution instead of trying to hide the truth and maintain its investors. Compared to the current investor lawsuit, losing these investors may have been the lesser of two evils. Read the rest