Hicks Thomas LLP Wins $36 Million for Client in Contract Row with BP

Hicks Thomas LLP won $36 million in arbitration on behalf of Frontier Drilling for a contract dispute with BP Exploration & Production Inc. According to Hicks Thomas LLP, BP agreed to charter a vessel with Frontier but dropped its end of the deal.

On behalf of Frontier, Hicks Thomas LLP asked a federal court to confirm the arbitration agreement, which included an amended award of more than $111,000 in compensation for arbitrators’ fees and more than $36 million in damages.

Frontier said, “Frontier knows of no valid grounds to vacate, modify or correct the arbitrators’ award. Therefore, pursuant to the [Federal Arbitration Act], and the parties’ agreement, Frontier requests that this court issue an order confirming the arbitrators’ amended partial final award.”

According to a 2010 contract with Frontier, BP agreed to charter a vessel for no less than 100 days at a $30.4 million rate. The contract included an additional fee of nearly $14 million for additional expenses. These expenses included moving the vessel to the Gulf of Mexico from Brazil.

After paying the mobilization fee, BP tried to back out of the contract. According to BP, Frontier provided a vessel that could not “lawfully” complete the task described in the contract. Claiming breach of contract, BP sought more than $19 million in arbitration. Frontier, on the other hand, claimed BP paid only $9 million for mobilization.

Through arbitration, Hicks Thomas LLP won an excess of $36 million. Frontier is represented by J. Stephen Barrick, Gregg C. Laswell, Matthew C. Rawlinson, and Allen H. Rustay, of Hicks Thomas LLP.

The case is Frontier Drilling USA Inc. v. BP Exploration & Production, lnc., 4:12-cv-03203, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Read more about this case on Law360.com (subscription required).