US: Mixed messages for BP from Oil Spill Commission report
Date: 9 Nov 2010
BP was able to take heart that the US government inquiry into the Gulf of Mexico disaster has concluded that it agrees with 90 percent of the company's own conclusions about the event. However, the company is still strongly criciticised, and others have been bitterly attacking the report for letting the company off too easily.
Chief investigator Fred Bartlit challenged allegations that the company had made a conscious choice to run higher risks in order to save money. The preliminary report says it could find "no evidence at this time to suggest there was a conscious decision to sacrifice safety concerns to save money".
Key factors had been BP and Transocean's mistake in interpreting results from a key pressure test as being successful, when in fact it was not, and should have led to a redesign. Apparently, nobody had called anyone onshore to discuss the results, which may limit responsibility for the accident to personnel on site.
Other mistakes included displacing heavy mud that should have acted as a barrier to a blow-out with seawater.
The companies were accused by inquiry co-chair William Reilly of having operated under a "culture of complacency" rather than a culture of safety.
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In a recent article, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston highlighted the fact that in 2012 the chances are that the economy - punch drunk as it is from the various flavours of debt crisis it has been pummelled with over the course of the year - will be hit by the collapse of a major bank and / or government.
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