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BP Sues Bridas Over Collapsed Pan American Energy Deal

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- BP PLC (BP.LN) Tuesday confirmed it has filed a suit with a U.S. federal court asking it to uphold the termination clauses of its collapsed deal with Argentina's Bridas Corp. BP has also asked a judge to rule that Bridas isn't entitled to a $700 million termination fee if the deal is deemed invalid, according to a U.S. court filing. BP in 2010 agreed to sell its 60% stake in Pan American Energy LLC to Bridas, which holds the other 40% of the company, for $7.1 billion. The deal collapsed in November after Bridas pulled out. According to the court papers, Bridas accused BP of failing to disclose certain "facts" and that it considered the original purchase agreement "null and void." According to BP, the $700 million compensation fee paid to Bridas when the deal collapsed was returned by Bridas, which claimed the "area of mutual interest" clause in the original deal--an agreement that seeks to define which geographical lands the parties are allowed to extract oil and gas from--was still in force and the mutual release wasn't effective. However, Bridas now wants the $700 million to be paid to it and is also demanding that the "area of mutual interest clause" remains in effect, said BP, describing this as "a completely inconsistent position." "Bridas's claim of fraud is groundless and BP is confident that its case against Bridas is sound," said BP. Attempts to reach Bridas for comment were unsuccessful. -By Alexis Flynn, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207842 9471, alexis.flynn@dowjones.com

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