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BP oil spill report sparks backlash

By Stephen Foley

BP set the scene for a vicious multi-billion dollar legal showdown with its contractors in the doomed Deepwater Horizon oil rig, pinning them with much of the blame for the explosion which led to the largest oil spill in living memory.

In its internal report on the disaster, BP said employees of the rig operator, Transocean, missed warning signs a full 40 minutes before the explosion on April 20, and identified flaws in the technology deployed by another contractor, Halliburton.

The design of the well, for which BP was itself responsible, was not a major factor, the report found.

Immediately after the publication of the report yesterday, BP was pitched into a war of words with Transocean, which accused the British oil giant of producing a “self-serving” report designed to conceal BP's own failings.

Billions of dollars rest on whether BP is found to have been grossly negligent, because if so, it will have to take sole responsibility for the costs of compensation to the families of 11 workers who died, federal fines, and the massive clean-up along the Gulf of Mexico coast.

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