'Cost cutting' led to Deepwater spill

The outcome of the hearing is likely to affect how much companies involved at the Deepwater Horizon site may have to pay.

The outcome of the hearing is likely to affect how much companies involved at the Deepwater Horizon site may have to pay.

 

BP’s push to maximize profits and cut costs at the Macondo well was a "root cause" of the explosion that led to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a safety expert who studied the disaster said.

Oil company executives pressured supervisors of the Deepwater Horizon rig to speed up drilling operations and hold down expenses as part of a corporate culture that put profit ahead of safety, University of California retired engineering professor Robert Bea yesterday told the judge who is hearing claims over the spill.

The Macondo well operators faced "intense pressure to save time and money" and because of that, the company "made sacrifices in safety," Mr Bea said.

It was "tragic and egregious" that BP didn't implement its safety system on the rig, he added.

BP resumed negotiating a possible settlement with the US and states affected by spill late on February 25th, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Though it may take weeks before an agreement is reached, a settlement should come before the end of the trial, according to the person.

BP rose 0.1 per cent in London trading this morning.

After hearing evidence in the trial, US District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans will decide who is liable for damages tied to the largest offshore spill in US history and whether BP, Transocean or other companies that worked on the project were grossly negligent in their handling of the rig and well.

His ruling on that issue will affect how much each company may have to pay.

Bloomberg