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HOUSTON (Dow Jones)--Halliburton Co. (HAL) objects to BP PLC's (BP) proposed $7.8 billion settlement with individual plaintiffs for the oil giant's involvement in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
Halliburton in its filing said it had only "limited amount of time available" to review BP's proposed settlement with thousands of businesses, property owners and individuals along the Gulf of Mexico who sustained economic damage from the 87-day oil spill. The Houston-based company also contends BP's settlement would make Halliburton responsible for paying at least part of the settlement by "improperly assigning claims against (Halliburton) to the plaintiff's steering committee," according to the filing.
Halliburton has said the company wasn't at fault in the accident. A BP representative declined to comment.
"The plantiffs' steering committee and BP have had more than a year to structure the proposed settlements, using a veritable army of experts and attorneys," Halliburton's lawyers wrote in the filing. "In contrast, (Halliburton) has had less than one week to review and analyze the proposed settlements."
Halliburton's protest, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, is the latest twist in the legal wrangling surrounding the companies since the April 2010 rig explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico that resulted in 11 deaths and millions of barrels of oil leaking into the water.
The spill stemming from the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon oil well was the worst in the Gulf's history and resulted in thousands of lawsuits against well owner BP; rig operator Transocean Ltd. (RIG), and Halliburton, which provided cementing services for the project.
Halliburton shares were $33.74 in mid-morning trading, up 1%. BP at $41.87, down 0.1%.
-By Ben Lefebvre, Dow Jones Newswires; 713-547-9201; firstname.lastname@example.org