A key federal report lays much of the blame on BP for the worst offshore oil spill in US history and the deaths of 11 rig workers, particularly with regard to the cement seal that was put in place the day before the explosion that triggered the spill. The report, released today, said in the days leading up to the disaster, BP made a series of decisions that complicated cementing operations, added risk, and may have contributed to the ultimate failure of the cement job. The details were contained in the final report from the Coast Guard and the agency that regulates offshore drilling, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement.
"BP, as the designated operator under BOEMRE regulations, was ultimately responsible for conducting operations at Macondo in a way that ensured the safety and protection of personnel, equipment, natural resources, and the environment," the panel concluded. (Read the full report here.) It also says BP, rig owner Transocean, and Halliburton "violated a number of federal offshore safety regulations." The report comes to similar conclusions as previous investigations, but it is likely to carry more weight in Congress, where Republican lawmakers in particular have said they are unwilling to adopt reforms until the federal inquiry was complete.