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Image courtesy of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. wasn’t culpable in the well-drilling operations that led to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled on March 21 that Texas-based Anadarko could not be held responsible for the April 2010 rig explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.

The Justice Department had asked the judge to rule that Anadarko could be held culpable.

The DOJ cited internal emails from Anadarko officials that discussed drilling the well deeper than BP had planned prior to the explosion, the Houston Business Journal said.

But Judge Barbier said he had already ruled that “Anadarko had no legal duty to intervene in the well and could not be negligent” because BP was in charge of the well-drilling decision making.

“Today’s ruling is consistent with previous court determinations that we were not at fault for the Deepwater Horizon event,” Anadarko President and CEO Al Walker said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing the Clean Water Act portion of the trial resolved soon.”

BP still faces civil fines of up to $17 billion through the Clean Water Act.

Anadarko has potential liability for some of BP’s spill damages, the Houston Business Journal said.

“Anadarko attorneys argued that the company ‘had no operational control over the Deepwater Horizon, and as a matter of law Anadarko was not negligent, breached no legal duty, did not cause or contribute to the discharge, and bears no fault,'” the report said.