Oil Spill

BP Blames ‘Multiple Companies’ in New Report on Gulf Oil Disaster

A BP report blames decisions by “multiple companies and work teams” for the Gulf oil disaster.

“No single factor caused the Macondo well tragedy,” the company says in a statement published by the Wall Street Journal. “Rather, a sequence of failures involving a number of different parties led to the explosion and fire.”

The statement says both BP and Transocean, the owner of the BP oil rig, incorrectly accepted results of a negative pressure test. The statement also blames Transocean rig workers, saying they failed to realize that hydcrocarbons, which were supposed to be contained in a reservoir, were instead flowing into the well. Meanwhile, BP is awaiting tests on cement samples that were handled by Halliburton Co.

The statement quotes BP’s outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward. “It is evident that a series of complex events, rather than a single mistake or failure, led to the tragedy,” he said. “Multiple parties, including BP, Halliburton and Transocean, were involved.”

BP posted the full report on its website.

A Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) story written before the release of the report noted that BP faces “a tricky balancing act.” If the company takes on too much blame, it risks greater liability in the disaster. If it points the finger at others, it risks charges that it is evading responsibility.

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