Eighteen months before the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company experienced a similar huge leak in Azerbaijan, WikiLeaks cables reveal. The firm was tight-lipped about the incident, angering its partners, the cables note, adding that BP was fortunate in getting its 212 workers to safety, the Guardian reports. Two fields were closed in the incident, and output was reduced by some 500,000 barrels daily.
The company’s Azerbaijan boss said it was possible BP “would never know” the cause of the September 2008 spill, though later it suggested a “bad cement job” may have been at fault. Azerbaijan’s president also accused BP of the theft of $10 billion worth of oil, and said the company had employed “mild blackmail” to win the rights to develop Caspian Sea gas reserves, the cables say.