Anadarko Petroleum, the second-largest U.S. independent oil and gas producer, has asked a Houston federal court to cancel an offshore rig leasing contract with Noble because Anadarko claims the government-imposed six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico could be considered a force majeure situation.
Anadarko (APC) said last week the moratorium forced the company to stop using Noble's (NE) Amos Runner rig in the Gulf. Anadarko said it notified Noble that the moratorium made it impossible to continue operating the rig.
Anadarko sued Noble in federal court in Houston June 18, asking for a declaratory judgment, after the rig-leasing company said the ban did not block Anadarko from redeploying the vessel elsewhere, Bloomberg News reported. Anadarko wants the court to rule the contract was lawfully terminated on Saturday.
This provision in the contract would require Anadarko to pay a force majeure rate for up to a maximum of 15 consecutive days, after which no day rate was payable, Bloomberg reported. Noble does not consider the moratorium a force majeure situation.