Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has agreed to pay a record settlement of more than $5 billion to resolve environmental claims against subsidiary Kerr-McGee Corp., the company and U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.
Oklahoma City-based Kerr-McGee created Tronox Ltd. in a 2005 spinoff that a federal bankruptcy judge ruled last year left the chemical manufacturer with billions of dollars worth of environmental liabilities. Kerr-McGee was acquired by Anadarko a year after the spinoff in a deal worth more than $18 billion.
The judge in December ruled Kerr-McGee had fraudulently conveyed assets to Tronox to evade its debts, as argued by the federal government when it intervened in Tronox’s 2009 bankruptcy case. Parent company Anadarko could have faced a judgment worth up to $14 billion.
The settlement is the largest environmental enforcement recovery ever by the Justice Department. It still must be approved by a judge.
“Kerr-McGee's businesses all over this country left significant, lasting environmental damage in their wake,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole said. “It tried to shed its responsibility for this environmental damage and stick the United States taxpayers with the huge cleanup bill.”