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BP spreads blame for spill in report

A BP sign is seen outside a gas station in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

JEREMY HOBSON: The British oil giant BP has released an internal report that says multiple companies and people are to blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. The report says a series of "complex" failures led to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Stephen Beard is looking over the report this morning and joins us live from London. Good morning, Stephen.

STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Jeremy.

HOBSON: Well, it's an internal report, so not surprisingly BP isn't taking too much blame. Does the report exonerate BP?

BEARD: No. That would be quite an achievement. The report, as you say, spreads the blame. It says there was no single cause for the disaster, it was a sequence of failures -- mechanical and human failures by BP and its partners in the Gulf. The report finds fault with the cement at the bottom of the well. That was Halliburton's responsibility. It says BP and the rig owner, Transocean, staff on the rig misinterpreted pressure gauge readings. And also Transocean's blowout preventer failed because critical components weren't working. It failed, and therefore did not cut off the flow of oil. So many reasons for the disaster, many parties at fault according to BP.

HOBSON: And if BP is spreading the blame around, will the company be able to share the cost of the cleanup and the lawsuits?

BEARD: That will be BP's hope. This report very much reads like the case for the defense. The case for the prosecution is likely to be more severe and, as we know, the Department of Justice has a criminal investigation under way and there are high-powered inquiries by a host of Congressional committees and more than 300 civil lawsuits in place. So BP will have a lot of questions to answer.

HOBSON: And quickly, Stephen, not long ago we were talking about BP potentially going bankrupt as a result of this spill. Has the outlook changed?

BEARD: Yes. I think so. It's worth noting the stock market liked the report today. And more encouraging news for BP, Fitch -- the ratings agency -- lifted its credit rating on the company.

HOBSON: All right, Marketplace's Stephen Beard in London, thanks.

BEARD: OK Jeremy.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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