BP has released a report from its internal investigation of the months-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It concludes by assigning blame to itself but also to several other organizations involved, especially Transocean, which operated the drilling rig. "No single factor caused the Macondo well tragedy," BP said of the report. "Rather, a sequence of failures involving a number of different parties led to the explosion and fire which killed 11 people and caused widespread pollution in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year." Here are the reactions.
Claims BP Not Responsible for Blowout New York Magazine's Nitasha Tiku writes, "One of the most telling findings from the report, if true, is that the blowout came up the center of the pipe, and not outside of the well casing. That would help dispel the idea that BP, the author of the report, is guilty of gross negligence for using cheaper casing, even though they knew it was risky, and opting to use fewer centralizers than had been advised, endangering the casing's position."
- Preview of Courtoom Defense The New York Times' Ian Urbina calls the report "as much a public relations exercise as a preview of BP’s probable legal strategy as it prepares to defend itself against possible federal charges, penalties and hundreds of pending lawsuits. A series of other reports, including one from the Coast Guard and the federal minerals management agency, are expected in the coming months."
- Transocean Hits Back at BP's Accusations The Washington Independent's Andrew Restuccia writes, "The investigation into the oil spill BP released today is already causing waves. In the report, BP spread the blame for the spill among 'multiple companies, work teams and circumstances.'" Transocean, which operated the rig, took the brunt of this blame-spreading. "Now Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig, says BP is dodging responsibility for the spill." Transocean's spokesperson calls this "a self-serving report that attempts to conceal the critical factor that set the stage for the Macondo incident: BP’s fatally flawed well design."
- It's All About Legalities With These Guys Daily Kos's Jed Lewison writes, "BP's report was prepared by a team of about 50 people, most of them BP employees. More than anything else, its goal appears to have been pointing the finger towards contractors, like Transocean, for culpability. BP's intention is not so much to get them off the hook in the court of public opinion, but rather to strengthen their case before a court of law." He says of the Transocean squabble, "So now we've got two of the biggest oil companies in the world pointing fingers at each other for causing the biggest oil spill in American history. And [they're] doing it for their lawyers."
- What Happens Next Time's Bryan Walsh predicts, "You'll likely see the major companies squabbling amongst themselves over who did what and when, repeating in the courts what their bickering chief executives said before Congress shortly after the spill began. ... BP's report is just one of many investigations that will be made public over the next several months—the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the Coast Guard have their own independent inquiries pending. The original, failed blowout preventer—which BP wasn't able to examine for its report—was just recovered and could provide valuable evidence for the forthcoming investigations. Still, given the sheer complexity of the accident and the confusion surrounding the events of April 20, there will likely never be a final, single answer that will satisfy everyone."