BP Report Spreads Spill Blame

The final US government report into last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill has blamed the companies involved in the project, saying they violated federal safety regulations.

The 16-month investigation concluded that BP, rig owner Transocean and Halliburton, which performed cementing services on the oil well, had a culture of complacency and made poor decisions that resulted in the disaster.

The blast on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 men and sparked a massive oil leak that lasted several months.

The central cause of the blowout was the failure of a cement barrier which allowed oil to spew from the well.

BP received the harshest criticism because the report said the company was ultimately responsible for operations and safety on the rig.

The finding by the agency that regulates offshore drilling could strengthen BP’s legal case for recovering some of the massive costs of the spill.

The subsequent pollution was “the result of poor risk management, last-minute changes to plans, failure to observe and respond to critical indicators, inadequate well control response, and insufficient emergency bridge response training”, the report concluded.

BP has spent $US40.7 billion on the biggest maritime oil spill in history and could still be liable for billions in fines, compensation and restoration costs.

It is currently embroiled in a series of lawsuits over apportioning the costs.

The report comes at the conclusion of a 17-month investigation by the US Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

A presidential commission tasked with investigating the spill also blamed the disaster on management failures by BP, Halliburton and Transocean.

The BP-leased Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, 2010.

By the time the well was capped 87 days later, 4.9 million barrels of oil had gushed out of the runaway well 1,500 metres below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

Hundreds of miles of fragile coastal wetlands and beaches were contaminated, a third of the Gulf’s rich US waters were closed to fishing, and the economic costs have reached into the tens of billions.

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