BP rejects data withholding claim


Oil company BP has fired back at Transocean in a dispute over the withholding of information about possible causes of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

James Neath, BP's associate general counsel, said an August 18th letter from a Transocean attorney asserting BP was not releasing critical data contained "many false and misleading assertions".

"Given its content and tone, your letter is nothing more than a publicity stunt evidently designed to draw attention away from Transocean's potential role in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy," Mr Neath wrote to Steven Roberts, the Transocean attorney, in a response yesterday.

Executives at both companies have publicly disputed responsibilities for operations of the BP well and the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that it leased from Transocean. The companies are engaged in finger-pointing over steps that may have contributed to the April 20th explosion that killed 11 workers and triggered the largest U.S. oil spill.

Transocean said in its letter that BP's "continued refusal to provide documents" was blocking efforts to determine the cause of the spill. BP has not provided documents requested by Transocean since June 21st, Mr Roberts said in the letter sent to BP and copied to officials in the Obama administration and members of Congress.

However, Mr Neath said that BP made available on July 16th more than 100,000 pages of documents to Transocean "for access, download and review." The BP lawyer copied his letter to the same administration officials and lawmakers.