Report likely to show BP workers misread crucial pressure readings hours before explosion, but will accuse rig owners Transocean over integrity of blowout preventer
BP is expected to admit today that it was partly to blame for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but will also claim that other companies must accept some responsibility.
The oil giant is due to publish its own report into the spill at noon today. This follows an internal investigation into the events leading up to the explosion on 20 April that killed 11 workers and began a devastating oil leak that spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for almost three months.
The report, which will run to around 200 pages, was led by BP safety chief Mark Bly. It is likely to say that BP workers on the rig misread crucial pressure readings in the hours before the explosion, which meant they did not spot that oil and gas was starting to leak into the well bore.
BP had hired the rig from Swiss-based Transocean, whose staff operated it, while US firm Halliburton was subcontracted to cement the wellhead into the sea floor. The three firms have already pointed the finger at each other at a hearing in the US Congress in May.
Bly’s report will also focus on the blowout preventer, the piece of equipment that failed to cut off the well when the leak began. It was seized by US authorities last weekend after being brought back to the surface, following reports that it had been modified in China.
Shares in BP rose by around 1% this morning to 412p ahead of the report’s publication.
“We believe the investigation could shift the focus of culpability back towards Transocean and in particular the integrity of the blowout preventer which should have acted as the ultimate fail safe. If our view is correct then BP’s shares could rally this afternoon as expectations of gross negligence litigation is eroded,” said City analysts Evolution Securities.
BP also received good news from Fitch this morning, which raised its credit rating on BP to A, from BBB, with a stable outlook.
Fitch said that it was now more confident that the well was capped permanently.
“The A-rating also reflects both the improved visibility of potential liability scenarios the company could still face and substantial payments that BP has made to date in building up liquidity to address potential financial payments,” Fitch added.