BP report spreads blame in Gulf oil disaster

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BP said today that a series of failures involving a number of companies ultimately led to the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"No single factor caused the Macondo well tragedy," BP said in a statement about its internal report of the disaster. "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."

Conducted by the company's safety chief, Mark Bly, and a team of about 50 mostly BP employees, the inquiry was initiated almost immediately after the April 20 explosion that spilled almost 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, The New York Times reports.

Citing "a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces," the 193-page report deflects attention away from BP and back onto its contractors, especially Transocean, which owned the rig, and Halliburton, which performed cement jobs on the well.

"To put it simply, there was a bad cement job and a failure of the shoe track barrier at the bottom of the well, which let hydrocarbons from the reservoir into the production casing," BP's outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward said in a statement. "Based on the report, it would appear unlikely that the well design contributed to the incident, as the investigation found that the hydrocarbons flowed up the production casing through the bottom of the well."

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