NEW ORLEANS – The battle between BP and Patrick Juneau, the administrator of the Deepwater Horizon claims center, appears to have ended, after the oil giant said it would drop its bid to have Juneau removed.
In a statement issued Friday, John Mingé, chairman and president of BP America, said improved internal controls and the hiring of several fraud investigators convinced him that Juneau's claim center is operating at a higher level than it once was.
“This marks the beginning of a new and more productive relationship between BP and the claims program,” Mingé said. “We appreciate the work that has been done to develop and implement improved processes to, among other things, detect and prevent the payment of fraudulent claims.”
The conciliatory talk caps more than a year of wrangling over the claims center between BP and Juneau. In September, BP filed an extensive motion to have Juneau removed as claims administrator, accusing the Lafayette-based attorney of ineptitude and of concealing clear conflicts of interest.
For his part, Juneau accused BP's CEO of lying, saying he had grounds to file a defamation suit against the oil giant and made it clear he would no longer deal with the company or lawyers on any issue unless it was absolutely necessary. Meanwhile, claims payments associated with the 2010 oil spill had slowed to a trickle.
It remains unclear whether the truce between BP and Juneau will hold and whether it will jump start claims processing.