Opinion Brief

Is BP shirking responsibility for the Gulf spill?

The oil company released its internal investigation into the massive Gulf oil spill, and most of the fingers point outward

BP has released its findings on what went wrong leading up to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last spring, and the company doesn't seem ready to accept much of the blame. Of the eight major causes BP identifies, says the Guardian's Damian Carrington, it takes responsibility for 1.5, blames well-cementing contractor Halliburton for one, and faults rig operator Transocean with 4.5. As the majority partner in Deepwater Horizon drilling project, is BP wrong to try and spread the guilt?

Man up, BP: It's "infuriating" to see BP so shamelessly "point blame at other companies and people," says Kat Hannaford in Gizmodo. It knew about the "impending danger" at the well for almost a year before it blew, and what did it do? Disable a "critical alarm system." If this "naval-gazing" report is BP's version of taking responsibility, that's "a hard pill to swallow."
"BP's oil spill report lays blame on 'multiple companies and work teams'"

The failure was a group effort: BP's being a little shifty in trying to "blame Halliburton and Transocean for their crappy cementing job and drilling oversight," says Bryan Walsh in Time. But it is right in pointing out that "the disaster at Deepwater Horizon had many parents" — and it's fair to say that "bad luck played a major role," too.
"Oil spill: BP's report—It's not (completely) our fault"

This is mostly for show: Give BP credit for filling 200 pages with "excuses and deflections," says Ariel Schwartz at Fast Company — that's not an easy task. But this report is "more of a PR stunt than anything else." If you want a more even-handed look, just wait for the results of other in-process investigations.
"What caused BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster?"

BP's not the only one shirking responsibility: Actually, this is less about PR than legal wrangling, says David Dayen in FireDogLake, and BP's hardly the only culprit. BP, Tansocean, and Halliburton have been in a "circular firing squad of finger-pointing" since Day 1, to try to influence the next fight: liability in the coming lawsuits. That's when blame will carry a real price tag.
"BP report designed to make partners liable"

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