BP Still Refuses to Take Full Blame for Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill, Houston Attorneys Say

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An internal report released by BP shows the company isn’t taking enough responsibility for the drilling rig explosion that killed 11 offshore workers and polluted the Gulf of Mexico, Houston maritime lawyers of Arnold & Itkin LLP say.

Jason Itkin

A full and fair investigation still needs to be completed by federal investigators and by representatives of those who are rightfully seeking compensation for the losses they have suffered as a result of this terrible accident.

British Petroleum’s partial acceptance of responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in an internal report released this week doesn’t go far enough, the Houston maritime lawyers of Arnold & Itkin LLP say.

In the 193-page report, BP states that a string of human and mechanical failures led to the April 20 oil rig explosion off the Louisiana coast and the months-long oil spill that followed, spewing nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico until it was capped July 15.

The in-house report spreads responsibility for the offshore accident among BP as well as Transocean, the owner and operator of the oil rig, and Halliburton, which cemented the well.

“It’s telling that the word ‘mistake’ doesn’t appear once in this report, and the words ‘fault’ and ‘BP’ show up in the same sentence only once,” says Jason Itkin, a partner in Houston-based Arnold & Itkin, which represents injured maritime workers and businesses throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

"This report shows that BP still refuses to accept its fair share of responsibility for this accident that killed 11 offshore workers, injured 17 others and destroyed and disrupted the livelihoods of maritime workers, commercial fishermen and hotel and restaurant owners throughout the Gulf Coast,” says Kurt Arnold, also a partner of the firm.

The Deepwater Horizon was drilling about 52 miles southeast of Venice, La., in 5,000 feet of water on April 20 when the rig exploded.

A day before the explosion, Halliburton was using cement to seal a gap between a well casing and a hole drilled in the seafloor, and it was also cementing the bottom of the well shut until BP was ready to begin extracting oil and gas, according to the Associated Press.

The BP internal report states that poor cementing work led to the blowout, which occurred when a methane gas bubble escaped through the drill column and ignited, and that BP’s well design likely was not at fault.

The BP report also says that “stronger quality assurance” by BP and “more thorough review and testing” by Halliburton could have identified weaknesses in the cementing plan, the AP reports.

Employees for both BP and Transocean also could have responded to warning signs that the well was at risk of a blowout, the report states.

“Keep in mind that this is BP’s own investigation – its own version of the events – so you might expect to see more finger pointing than self scrutiny,” Itkin says.

“A full and fair investigation still needs to be completed by federal investigators and by representatives of those who are rightfully seeking compensation for the losses they have suffered as a result of this terrible accident.”

About Arnold & Itkin LLP

The lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP, a personal injury law firm based in Houston, Texas, understand the complexities and legalities of maritime law and have a successful track record of verdicts and settlements in favor of maritime workers. The firm provides legal guidance on all aspects of maritime law and the benefits offshore workers are entitled to under the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the principle of maintenance and cure, or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

The firm handles maritime claims at port cities along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The firm can be contacted toll free at (866) 222-2606 or online through the firm's Web site.

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