In a ruling which should be of immense importance to New Zealand and its exposure to the company which jeopardizes both the North and the South Islands pristine coast lines US bankruptcy judge Allan Gropper ruled that the company owed between $ 1 to $ 14 billion to the people they victimized when they bought a company named Kerr McKee which was sued because they left a multitude of sites in such a contaminated state it was seeping to neighboring lands and rivers.
Anadarko which can only be sued for a maximum of a $ 100.000 if anything was to happen with the test drills in New Zealand restructured the corporation and it’s conception to it so that they could not be held responsible for the damages but the judge ruled that they could still be sued and held responsible.
New York — Shares of Anadarko Petroleum plummeted Friday after a judge ruled that the oil company owes litigants billions due to a fraudulent reorganization designed to avoid environmental liability.
US bankruptcy judge Allan Gropper ruled that the oil and gas company owes between $5.1 billion and $14.5 billion. The company immediately vowed to appeal the ruling.
Investors sold its shares off after the ruling; they closed at $78.30, down 6.4 percent.
The case stems from a series of corporate restructurings at Kerr McGee Corp. in the early 2000s prior to it being acquired by Anadarko in 2006 for $18 billion.
Kerr McGee, once a leading chemicals firm, is accused of leaving waste sites around the United States, contaminated with uranium contamination, thorium and other toxins that pollute land and water.
Gropper concluded that the restructuring constituted a “fraudulent conveyance” that offloaded more than $1 billion in environmental liabilities to another entity, Tronox Worldwide.
Gropper said Tronox, created in 2005, lacked the financial means to run as a viable business or to assume the liabilities. Tronox fell into bankruptcy reorganization in 2009 and emerged in 2011.
“There can be no dispute that Kerr-McGee acted to free substantially all its assets — certainly its most valuable assets — from 85 years of environmental and tort liabilities,” Gropper said.
As a result, creditors of Kerr McGee would be “hindered or delayed” in trying to recoup money from Tronox to cover cleanup costs or other liabilities, Gropper wrote.